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
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
(China Daily 07/05/2007 page3)