Fury over govt’s flood re­sponse

The Myanmar Times - - World -

ANGER erupted over the floods in north­ern China that left more than 200 peo­ple dead or miss­ing, with me­dia and in­ter­net users ac­cus­ing of­fi­cials of neg­li­gence.

Tor­ren­tial rain lashed the north last week, and a flash flood near the town of Xing­tai in He­bei prov­ince, which left at least 23 dead and 13 miss­ing, has be­come a fo­cus of the pub­lic’s dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to the dis­as­ter.

An­gry vil­lagers have blamed lo­cal of­fi­cials for fail­ing to warn them of the im­pend­ing del­uge, with He­bei Satel­lite TV show­ing one res­i­dent say­ing wa­ter had reached chest level be­fore an alarm was raised.

Res­i­dents have also voiced sus­pi­cions that the sud­den flood, which struck on July 20 while vil­lagers slept, was man-made – the re­sult of a re­lease of wa­ter from a lo­cal reser­voir, rather than the break­ing of a levee in a nearby river, as of­fi­cials have claimed.

Pho­tos and videos of the af­ter­math showed the small, float­ing corpses of drowned chil­dren be­ing pulled from the muddy flood­wa­ters and homes com­pletely col­lapsed.

Lo­cal deputy Com­mu­nist Party sec­re­tary Wang Qingfei drew ire for ear­lier com­ments that there had been “no ca­su­al­ties” in the flood.

A video of him kneel­ing be­fore wail­ing rel­a­tives who lost fam­ily mem­bers spread on so­cial me­dia, show­ing three dis­traught women clutch­ing at his arm while ask­ing how many had died.

Other on­line footage showed lo­cals clash­ing with po­lice.

As of yes­ter­day, the rain­storms had left 110 dead and 104 miss­ing in He­bei. –

Photo: AFP

Lo­cals make their way through a flooded area in Chang­ping dis­trict in Bei­jing on July 21.

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