Rainstorms and floods wreak havoc

Updated: 2013-08-26 01:23

By Zhao Lei (China Daily)

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Rainstorms and floods have wreaked havoc on China’s northeastern and southern regions, while meteorological authorities forecast heavy rain will continue to batter many parts of the country.

The latest round of flood crests on the Songhua River is expected to reach Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, on Tuesday, flood control experts said on Sunday.

Rainstorms and floods wreak havoc

Li Yangyang sits in the doorway of her home, which was hit by floods on Aug 16, in Nankouqian village, Fushun, Liaoning province. She lost her grandmother in the flood, and her father was also swept away and is still missing. The death toll in the area has risen to 76, with 88 missing.Yao Jianfeng / Xinhua

The major city in northeastern China has a population of more than 10 million.

Scenic spots in Harbin, which are located along the Songhua River, were requested to close for business on Sunday.

In Zhaoyuan, a county located upriver of Harbin, more than 1,700 residents have been evacuated.

Meanwhile, nearly 600 oil wells in Daqing, one of China’s major oilfields, which is about 150 kilometers from Harbin, have halted operation.

A flood crest is expected to reach Tongjiang and Jiamusi in the province between Sunday and Monday.

Tongjiang is located south of the confluence of the Songhua and Heilong rivers. The Tongjiang section of the river has reached its highest level ever, and flood control experts said the dikes in the Tongjiang section will likely be breached by the coming flood.

Lu Hao, governor of Heilongjiang province, said more than 5,000 soldiers from People’s Liberation Army and officers from the Armed Police Force have been put on duty in the two cities.

Persistent downpours since Aug 14 have caused the worst flooding since 1998 in the northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang, which are the heartland of China’s grain production.

The floods have claimed at least 85 lives and left 105 missing in the three provinces, according to local civil affairs authorities.

Fushun in Liaoning has been hit hardest, with 76 dead and 88 missing. The flood in the city, which has a river running through the downtown area, was said to be its worst in decades.

A memorial service was held in Fushun on Saturday for the victims. Saturday was declared as a citywide day of condolence and all public entertainment activities were halted for the day.

Experts urged local governments to make full preparations for the coming floods.

“More heavy rains in late August may cause massive flooding of the Songhua River, inflicting more damage,” said Shu Qingpeng, spokesman for State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

In other parts of the country, rainstorms are also expected from Sunday to Monday.

Heavy rain is likely to hit the provinces of Yunnan, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Sichuan and Hubei and Shanghai, with the precipitation in southwestern Yunnan expected to reach 100 to 150 mm from Sunday to Monday, the National Meteorological Center forecast on Sunday.

The center said local authorities should step up preventative efforts against mountain floods, landslides, mudslides and urban waterlogging.

In South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Typhoon Trami, the 12th typhoon to hit China this year, has killed one person and affected 125,700 people, local authorities said on Sunday.

Trami, which brought rainstorms to Guangxi, has forced local governments to relocate more than 2,900 people, according to the disaster relief office of the regional civil affairs department.

In addition, residents of Shantou and Puning in Guangdong province, where the typhoon caused damage last week, are busy cleaning streets and retrieving necessities from their homes.

Disease control personnel have been sent to conduct anti-epidemic measures, local governments said, adding that dams and dikes are being fortified for possible floods over the next few days.