Flood warning issued

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-05 06:49

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters yesterday urged local governments in East China's Huaihe River basin to brace themselves for the first major flood of the summer.

Continuous heavy rains, with some places witnessing a precipitation of more than 30 cm since last Thursday, have led to the river rising drastically, with critical levels being reached at several dams, the headquarters said.

It said the water level was now above the warning line at the Wangjia Dam, a major barrier in the upper reaches of the river.

The China Meteorological Administration has forecast further rain until Sunday, when the water level is expected to reach its peak.

Although there have so far been no emergencies or the need for evacuations, the State body is asking local governments to keep a close watch on the water levels of the river and nearby lakes and to ready themselves for possible floods.

It also ordered them to map out emergency response plans and make advance use of dams and watercourses to lessen the threat.

The Huaihe River runs for about 1,000 km from Central China's Henan Province, through Anhui and Jiangsu provinces before meeting the Yangtse. Its many tributaries form one of the most important watercourse systems in the country.

The drainage area of the river also covers part of Shandong and Hubei provinces, which are home to some 200 million people.

Capricious and extreme weather conditions have wreaked havoc throughout the country so far this summer.

As of Monday, floods had this year been responsible for 233 deaths and the destruction of 118,500 houses in 18 areas. Droughts in the north, meanwhile, have left nearly 7.4 million people short of drinking water, the headquarters said.

(China Daily 07/05/2007 page3)

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours