433 rivers across China exceed alerting-levels, Xi Jinping admits flooding is grim

Up to 433 rivers across China have exceeded alerting levels since early June, with 33 of them rising to historical highs.
July 14, 2020 | 08:59
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Floodwaters pass by a residential building in the Qijiang district of Chongqing. (Photo: AP)

Up to 433 rivers across China have exceeded alerting levels since early June, with 33 of them rising to historical highs, according to the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources on July 13.

Ye Jianchun, vice minister of water resources, said at a press briefing on China's efforts on flood control that 109 rivers have exceeded water safety levels, and the country is entering a key period in flood prevention.

He warned the situation in the Yangtze River and Taihu Lake are still severe, CGTN reported.

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Flood in Rongshui County, southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Photo: AP)

Earlier on July 12, the ministry raised its flood response alert to the second highest level. The water at 10 hydrological stations along the Yangtze River have exceeded warning levels, and the water level at Taihu Lake has exceeded the warning level for 15 consecutive days, data showed on the day.

So far, hydrological stations at Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, have all exceeded warning levels, and at least four of them have exceeded record water levels set in 1998.

It is expected that rivers in northern part may see greater regional floods in the future, Ye added.

Flooding in China is grim

So far, floods have affected 37.89 million people in 27 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. As many as 141 people are dead or missing, and 28,000 houses have collapsed.

A total of 2.246 million emergency evacuations have been made, according to Zheng Guoguang, vice minister of emergency management

The ministry has dispatched 47,000 people for flood prevention, rescue and relief work. 76,000 people have been rescued or evacuated, said Zheng.

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Residents swim past a riverside pavilion submerged by the flooded Yangtze River in Wuhan. (Photo: AP)

Noting the waters in rivers such as the Yangtze River, Huaihe River, as well as lakes such as the Dongting Lake, Poyang Lake and Taihu Lake have exceeded warning levels and regions including Chongqing, Jiangxi, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang have seen severe floods recently, causing casualties and property losses, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the flood prevention situation is grim, Xinhua said.

China has entered a crucial period of flood control, said Xi, who is also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, calling on Party committees and governments at all levels to take responsibilities and go into the frontline to guide flood control work.

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Photo taken on July 11, 2020 shows rescuers transferring stranded people by boat in Rongshui, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Xinhua)

Greater efforts are need to brave challenges and go to the frontline of flood prevention and rescue and relief work to ensure the safety of people's lives and property, he requested.

Authorities should take more effective flood control measures and do solid work in monitoring and early warning, safety hazards checking at dikes and reservoirs, emergency response and resettlement of the affected people, Xi said.

The country's flood control, emergency response and water resource authorities should strengthen coordination and allocate the rescue personnel and supplies in a more scientific way.

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Soldiers and officers strengthen the levee of Changjiang River for floods prevention in Poyang County, east China's Jiangxi Province. (Photo: Xinhua)

The PLA and armed police troops stationed in flood-hit regions should actively participate in the rescue and relief work.

While making effective flood control and disaster relief efforts, local authorities should at the same time carefully plan the reconstruction to restore production and help people return to their normal life as soon as possible, he said.

Serious efforts must be made to assist the flood-affected poor residents so that they will not fall back into poverty because of the disasters, the leader ordered./.

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