China warns of more flood misery in river basin

Hundreds of thousands of villagers in east China’s Huai river basin, already suffering the region’s worst flooding in 50 years, have been told to brace for more heavy rains this week, state media reported on Monday.

China warns of more flood misery in river basin
Hundreds of thousands of villagers in east China’s Huai river basin, already suffering the region’s worst flooding in 50 years, have been told to brace for more heavy rains this week, state media reported on Monday.

Torrential summer rains across the country have fed floods and landslides that had killed 403 people, left 105 missing and forced the evacuation of 3.17 million by Friday, the China Daily said.

Government authorities warned that water levels along tributaries feeding the Huai river, which originates in central Henan province and runs east through densely populated and impoverished parts of Anhui and coastal Jiangsu provinces, were rising again and threatening to breach embankments.

Anhui’s flood control office flagged further deliberate flooding to ease pressure on key control points along the river, the paper said.

“The water level on the crucial Wangjiaba Hydrological Station may soon surge above the danger line as more rains have been forecast in the next few days,” the paper quoted Cheng Dianlong, the office’s deputy director, as saying.

Anhui’s Mengwa area, where crops and homes of 157,000 people have already been submerged, faces another bout of deliberate flooding to ease pressure at Wangjiaba, the paper said.

Authorities have already flooded nine buffer zones along the Huai to relieve more than 2 million flood-hit residents in Henan, and mobilised more than 30,000 troops to help rescue work, the paper said.

In a sign of the urgency involved, an Anhui government watchdog sacked the village party chief of Zhenxing, in Yingshang county, for “not directing work at the flood front”, the paper said.

“Failing your responsibility during floods is like touching a high-voltage electric wire,” the paper quoted a county discipline official as saying.

Further south, officials in Hunan province were battling to contain a plague of more than 2 billion rats fleeing the rising waters of Dongting Lake.

Scientists blamed China’s massive Three Gorges Dam project and climate change for the rodents, whose flight to dry land has seen them ruin cropland in some 22 counties surrounding the lake.

The controversial dam’s “interception of the upper watershed had lowered water levels and created ideal conditions for a rodent outbreak”, the paper quoted Wu Chenghe, chief of a plantation protection office at Datong Lake, which runs off Dongting Lake, as saying.

Typhoon Man-yi, originally headed for China, pounded Japan over the last few days, killing three people, injuring more than 70 and forcing the evacuation of thousands. It weakened into a tropical storm on Sunday.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Temmuz 2007, 10:50
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