Re­cent down­pours have killed 33 peo­ple, with 15 oth­ers still miss­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HOU LIQIANG in Bei­jing and FENG ZHIWEI in Chang­sha

Flood­ing in south­ern China should ease off on Tues­day as the rain­fall that has trou­bled the re­gion for more than 10 days sub­sides.

China’s na­tional weather ob­ser­va­tory is­sued a yel­low alert, the sec­ond-low­est in a four-tier weather warn­ing sys­tem, on Mon­day for the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive day of high tem­per­a­tures in the north­ern part of the coun­try. But it lifted a blue alert, the low­est in the warn­ing sys­tem, which was is­sued late on Sun­day for rain in the south.

The down­pour on Sun­day raised water lev­els in the Li­u­jiang River and four of its trib­u­taries in the Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion above the warn­ing level on Mon­day. The con­tin­ued rain­fall also re­sulted in an in­crease in water lev­els by about 50 cen­time­ters in Dongt­ing and Poyang lakes and three sec­tions along the Yangtze River, ac­cord­ing to the State Flood Con­trol and Drought Relief Head­quar­ters.

Hu­nan has been the worsthit prov­ince along the Yangtze. Water lev­els at the Chang­sha mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion in the Xiang jiang River, a ma­jor Yangtze trib­u­tary,

peo­ple have been af­fected by re­cent flood­ing in eight pro­vin­cial-level re­gions in south­ern China

reached a record-high of 39.51 me­ters early on Mon­day, higher than the pre­vi­ous record of 39.18 m recorded dur­ing a mas­sive flood in 1998.

About 326,900 peo­ple have been in­volved in flood con­trol work in Hu­nan, Hubei, Jiangxi and An­hui prov­inces, with more than 80 per­cent of those hav­ing been dis­patched in Hu­nan, the head­quar­ters said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Civil Af­fairs, re­cent down­pours had killed 33 peo­ple in eight pro­vin­cial-level re­gions as of Tues­day morn­ing. Fif­teen peo­ple are still miss­ing and the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple af­fected has risen to 9.56 mil­lion, the min­istry said.

The Min­istry of Fi­nance on Mon­day re­leased 1.9 bil­lion yuan ($280 mil­lion) in emer­gency fund for flood relief in 20 prov­inces and au­ton­o­mous re­gions.

Floods have in­un­dated houses, up­rooted trees, and dam­aged cars and roads in Hu­nan’s cap­i­tal, Chang­sha, while in­ter­mit­tent rain is fore­cast to con­tinue in the city un­til Wed­nes­day.

The pub­lic vol­un­teered to help fill sand­bags as a flood pre­ven­tion mea­sure.

The Three Gorges Dam has helped con­trol flood­ing. Its flow was 27,000 cu­bic me­ters per sec­ond be­fore Satur­day, but has now been re­duced to 8,000 cu m/s, ac­cord­ing to the Yangtze River Flood Con­trol and Drought Relief Head­quar­ters.

The re­duc­tion stopped 3 bil­lion cu m of water and low­ered water lev­els by up to 1.5 me­ters, the head­quar­ters said.

“We hope the re­duc­tion of out­flow will give soldiers and res­i­dents enough time to stack up sand­bags to bat­tle the flood­ing or evac­u­ate,” said Wu Zhao­hui, an of­fi­cial with the water re­sources bu­reau in neigh­bor­ing Hubei.

The Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter said new down­pours will oc­cur from Wed­nes­day to Satur­day, as a rain band moves to the Sichuan Basin in South­west China.

The rain­fall will af­fect 12 pro­vin­cial re­gions, and the au­thor­i­ties sent a no­tice on Mon­day to these re­gions, ask­ing them to take pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures, ac­cord­ing to the State Flood Con­trol and Drought Relief Head­quar­ters.

Con­tact the writ­ers at houliqiang@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

LI HANCHI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Fire bri­gade of­fi­cers es­cort a stu­dent to an ele­men­tary school for end-of-se­mes­ter ex­ams in a raft in the flood-stricken city of Li­uzhou, Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion, on Tues­day.

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