Bei­jing, Moscow co­op­er­ate on floods

Cen­tral govern­ment praises Rus­sia for re­duc­ing pres­sure on river

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By WANG ZHENGHUA wangzhenghua@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Rus­sia are work­ing well to­gether to fight flood­ing that is af­fect­ing both coun­tries, the cen­tral govern­ment said on Sun­day.

Mean­while, me­te­o­rol­o­gists warn that disas­ter con­trol in North­east China will be dif­fi­cult in the com­ing week even though the heavy rain­fall is ex­pected to ta­per off.

Be­gin­ning last week, con­tin­u­ous strong rain­fall has caused the big­gest flood­ing since 1998 in the prov­inces of Hei­longjiang, Jilin and Liaon­ing. Swollen rivers have claimed at least 40 lives, with dozens miss­ing and mil­lions of other res­i­dents also af­fected by the disas­ter.

Some have said that Rus­sia’s dis­charge of flood­wa­ters from up­stream reser­voirs made con­trol­ling flood­ing in China more dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially in Hei­longjiang.

But the Of­fice of State Flood Con­trol and Drought Re­lief Head­quar­ters said on Sun­day that Rus­sia has paid close at­ten­tion to the sit­u­a­tion and worked with China on flood con­trol ef­forts in the prov­ince.

“When flood­ing hit its Zeya and Bureya rivers, (Rus­sia) made a strong ef­fort to hold the flood­ing in its reser­voirs, greatly re­duc­ing the flood pres­sure on the main stream of the Hei­long River,” the of­fice said.

For in­stance, on Aug 2, the Zeya Reser­voir saw a max­i­mum in­flow of wa­ter at 11,700 cu­bic me­ters per sec­ond but kept the out­flow at 3,500 cu m per sec­ond.

At Bureya Reser­voir, the wa­ter in­flow reached 5,050 cu m per sec­ond on Fri­day, but Rus­sia kept its out­flow at around 1,000 cu m per sec­ond.

The re­marks came af­ter news re­ports that said China and Rus­sia had ac­cused each other of flood­wa­ter dis­charges that had wors­ened the flood­ing in the coun­tries.

Mean­while, me­te­o­rol­o­gists at the National Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal cen­ter said the rain­fall, which has been strong since ear­lier this month, will lessen in the com­ing week.

From Mon­day to Thurs­day, North­east China will see light to mod­er­ate rain, while eastern parts of Hei­longjiang and the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion will see heavy rain.

Even so, Hei­longjiang, Jilin and Liaon­ing are gear­ing up for even worse flood­ing.

Among the big rivers in Hei­longjiang, only the Wusuli River has had its wa­ter level be­low the dan­ger level, said Hou Bai­jun, deputy di­rec­tor of the provin­cial flood con­trol and drought re­lief head­quar­ters.

All other rivers have re­ported their big­gest floods since 1998.

Ac­cord­ing to the provin­cial civil af­fairs depart­ment, the disas­ter has killed 11 peo­ple, de­stroyed 1.44 mil­lion hectares of crops, flat­tened 2,560 houses and af­fected nearly 2 mil­lion res­i­dents since Aug 10.

Di­rect eco­nomic losses stood at 7.1 bil­lion yuan ($1.16 bil­lion), the depart­ment said.

In nearby Jilin, at least 14 peo­ple have died in the disas­ter. The flood also cut off roads, dam­aged reser­voir, and forced dozens of busi­nesses to sus­pend pro­duc­tion.

In Liaon­ing, 15 flood­related deaths were re­ported in Fushun on Sun­day, and 32 peo­ple dis­ap­peared af­ter a tor­ren­tial rain hit the re­gion on Fri­day. More than 300,000 peo­ple in the city were af­fected by the disas­ter.

“The wa­ter rose so fast that peo­ple couldn’t pre­pare for it,” said Chu Yongge, a na­tive of Fushun’s Qingyuan county. “At my court­yard, the flood rose to about 2 me­ters within min­utes on Fri­day night.”

Hun­dreds were stranded on their rooftops for hours be­fore emer­gency work­ers moved them to safe ar­eas, he added.

In ad­di­tion to re­gional gov­ern­ments that de­liv­ered re­lief sup­plies, China’s cen­tral au­thor­i­ties on Satur­day sent re­lief sup­plies to flood­hit ar­eas in the north­east­ern re­gion.

The National Com­mis­sion for Disas­ter Re­duc­tion and the Min­istry of Civil Af­fairs is­sued a Level IV emer­gency disas­ter re­lief re­sponse at 5 pm on Satur­day, with a spe­cial work team sent to the re­gion to guide lo­cal re­lief ef­forts.

A to­tal 3,000 tents, 5,000 cot­ton quilts, 2,000 fold­ing beds and 3,000 sleep­ing bags were de­liv­ered to disas­ter vic­tims. Zhou Huiy­ing in Harbin con­trib­uted to this story.

WEI JIANSHUN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Af­ter more than five hours of work, soldiers suc­cess­fully re­paired a 1,000-me­ter dike that was on the verge of be­ing breached in Xunke county, Hei­longjiang prov­ince, on Satur­day. The Hei­long River’s level in the county ex­ceeded the dan­ger mark by 1.76 me­ters on Satur­day, caus­ing the dike to spring sev­eral leaks.

ZHA JINHUI / FOR CHINA DAILY

A car is stuck in silt in Fushun, Liaon­ing prov­ince. Parts of the prov­ince were hit by heavy rain for days, and at least 316,000 peo­ple were af­fected.

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