North­east China braces for ma­jor floods

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By JIN ZHU jinzhu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

North­east China is ex­pected to ex­pe­ri­ence its big­gest floods in two decades this year due to con­tin­u­ous heavy rain along the re­gion’s ma­jor rivers, flood con­trol au­thor­i­ties have warned.

Rain­fall along the Songhua River since June is about 40 per­cent more than the aver­age for the same pe­riod in pre­vi­ous years. This year’s rain­fall to­tal along the river is higher than be­fore the huge flood of 1998, the State Flood Con­trol and Drought Re­lief Head­quar­ters said over the week­end.

Ar­eas fed by the Songhua River are highly likely to have rain-re­lated flood­ing in mid to late Au­gust, it said.

Mean­while, the Nen­jiang River has also been swollen by heavy rain this sum­mer. The to­tal rain­fall since June along the Nen­jiang has been 30 to 40 per­cent more than in pre­vi­ous years, Yang Guangyun, an of­fi­cial with the Hei­longjiang provin­cial hy­drol­ogy bureau, was quoted as say­ing by China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion on Sun­day.

The wa­ter level in Nierji Wa­ter Com­plex, the big­gest hy­dro pro­ject in the main stream of the Nen­jiang River, has passed its warn­ing level, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

CCTV aerial footage on Sun­day showed that all houses, farm­land and roads in the flood area were sub­merged.

In the worst-hit Li­uhe county in Hei­longjiang prov­ince, more than 60,000 hectares of crops, in­clud­ing corn, soy­beans, and pota­toes, are all soaked in wa­ter, the re­port said.

In Hei­longjiang prov­ince, the part of Heix­i­azi Is­land be­long­ing to China has been sub­merged due to con­tin­u­ous down­pours, with about 90 per­cent un­der wa­ter on Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to the Xin­hua News Agency.

The is­land, which is shared by China and Rus­sia, is lo­cated at the con­flu­ence of the Amur River in Rus­sia, and the Us­suri River. The en­trance to the is­land has been closed by bor­der po­lice from Ji­a­musi as only a few build­ings can be seen above the wa­ter. All con­struc­tion projects on the is­land have been sus­pended, and more than 300 work­ers have been evac­u­ated.

By Fri­day, pound­ing rain in Hei­longjiang and Jilin prov­inces, as well as the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion, had caused flood­ing and af­fected 2.28 mil­lion peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the State Flood Con­trol and Drought Re­lief Head­quar­ters.

Floods have ru­ined 1.07 mil­lion hectares of crops and plants, re­sult­ing in di­rect eco­nomic losses of 6.6 bil­lion yuan ($1.08 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to the head­quar­ters.

From Sun­day to Tues­day, North China, eastern parts of North­west China, as well as parts of South­west China’s Sichuan Basin and Yun­nan prov­ince will see mod­est to heavy rain­fall, with some ar­eas ex­pe­ri­enc­ing tor­ren­tial rain, the National Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter said on Sun­day.

Some of th­ese re­gions will be swept by brief thun­der­storms, gusts and hail, it said.

The State Flood Con­trol and Drought Re­lief Head­quar­ters pre­dicted in July that heavy rain­fall might cause se­vere flood­ing in many ma­jor rivers from July 15 to Aug 15, in­clud­ing the up­per reaches of the Yangtze, Haihe, Yel­low, Songhua and Liaohe rivers.

“For in­stance, there hasn’t been a se­vere flood in the Songhua River since 1998. There­fore, many cities in North China don’t have much ex­pe­ri­ence in flood con­trol,” Shu Qing­peng, press sec­re­tary of the head­quar­ters said in July.

He alerted lo­cal govern­ment au­thor­i­ties to help res­i­dents im­prove their aware­ness of emer­gency pro­ce­dures dur­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

WEI JIANSHUN FOR CHINA DAILY

Soldiers stack bags of sand on Sun­day af­ter flood­wa­ters in Heihe, Hei­longjiang prov­ince, broke an em­bank­ment in the city’s Beitaozi Is­land. Heihe is suf­fer­ing its most se­vere flood­ing in 30 years.

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