Heed ‘warn­ing’ of flood­wa­ters, Li says

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By HU YONGQI in Bei­jing huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Wuhan

Wear­ing a cam­ou­flage rain­coat to pro­tect him from the down­pour, Premier Li Ke­qiang called on sol­diers and res­cuers to se­cure the em­bank­ments along the Yangtze River on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Dur­ing a visit to Wuhan, cap­i­tal of Hubei prov­ince and a cru­cial point along the 6,300-kilo­me­ter­long Yangtze River, Li toured a site where flood­wa­ters had burst through from be­neath the em­bank­ment, in­un­dat­ing a neigh­bor­hood in the city’s Qing­shan district.

The premier en­cour­aged sol­diers rush­ing to help to ful­fill their duty to pro­tect peo­ple.

“A small leak can sink a ship, and the leak­ing point has sent a warn­ing to us, as it’s only 400 me­ters out­side the main struc­ture,” Li said. He added that if the flood­wa­ters were to breach the em­bank­ments, the lives of mil­lions of peo­ple would be in peril.

“I hope you can guar­an­tee the em­bank­ment’s in­tegrity,” he told the sol­diers.

The premier also urged lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to make full ef­forts to pro­tect the lives and prop­erty of peo­ple who live near the em­bank­ment.

The Yangtze River’s banks are now much stronger than in 1998, when an un­prece­dented del­uge dev­as­tated the re­gion, but no leak­ing or holes can be ne­glected, the premier said.

He also re­it­er­ated that flood con­trol must achieve the two pur­poses of en­sur­ing peo­ple’s safety and safe­guard­ing the banks of ma­jor rivers such as the Yangtze, Huaihe and Yel­low rivers.

As of Wed­nes­day, down­pours in Hubei had left 61 peo­ple dead and 24 miss­ing, with 511,000 peo­ple be­ing re­lo­cated to safe lo­ca­tions, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment said. The point of the leak was blocked as a re­sult of 300 sol­diers’ ef­forts on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Li also vis­ited work­er­swho were but­tress­ing other sec­tions of the em­bank­ment.

“Flood con­trol de­pends on the struc­ture and the peo­ple who de­tect and elim­i­nate dan­gers to pro­tect your own fam­i­lies along with mil­lions of oth­ers. I am­con­fi­dent you will over­come th­ese dif­fi­cul- ties,” Li told the work­ers.

He rushed to Wuhan af­ter his visit on Tues­day toWangji­aba, a key point along the 1,000-km-long Huaihe River in Anhui prov­ince, and Yueyang in Hu­nan prov­ince, where he toured the banks of the Yangtze and Dongt­ing Lake, China’s sec­ond-largest fresh­wa­ter lake.

On Tues­day night, he presided over a meet­ing in Yueyang on flood con­trol for the Yangtze, Huaihe and Yel­low rivers. At the meet­ing, orig­i­nally sched­uled for Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Li urged of­fi­cials at all lev­els to re­main alert for all dan­gers, in­clud­ing flood­ing and landslides.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has or­dered the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army and the Armed Po­lice Force to send more troops to sup­port flood con­trol and dis­as­ter re­lief in ar­eas bat­tered by rain­storms, Xin­hua News Agency re­ported onWed­nes­day.

Heavy rain since June 30 has left at least 186 peo­ple dead and 45 oth­ers miss­ing across China, ac­cord­ing to the State Flood Con­trol and Drought ReliefHead­quar­ters.

Yel­low River Huaihe River Yangtze River Hubei PENG XING LEI / XIN­HUA

Premier Li Ke­qiang in­structs lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials dur­ing his visit to flooded ar­eas in Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. The heavy rain has caused wa­ter lev­els of the rivers, lakes and reser­voirs of the city to rise alarm­ingly.

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