Rainstorms kill 74 in a week

By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu and Li Fangchao in Beijing (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-21 06:55

Rainstorms, floods, landslides and mud flows have claimed 74 lives in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and East China's Shandong Province, in the past week, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

The two places have never experienced such heavy rainfall in recent history. Severe damage has been caused to their infrastructure, transportation and telecommunications.

More than 6.8 million people have been affected, and estimates show the two have suffered a combined loss of at least 4 billion yuan ($526 million).

In Chongqing, forty-two people were killed and 12 are reported missing. About 300,000 people have been evacuated.

The rains caused 30,000 houses to collapse and 78,000 were damaged. About 192,500 hectares of crops have also been destroyed.

"The rainstorms intensity and poor drainage systems are to blame," He Zhiqiang, chief of the technology department of Chongqing Municipal Facilities Bureau, said.

"As Chongqing is a mountainous city, the size, slope and length of underground drainage systems must be designed in accordance with its specific geographical layout.

"But some construction teams have designed the drainage systems arbitrarily and have used substandard materials," He said. "It is very difficult for departments in charge of municipal facilities to dig up roads to repair the system because of heavy traffic flow."

Sun Chunming, an expert in dredging at the Chongqing Municipal Facilities Bureau, said substandard drainage systems were common in the city. He said design of the drainage systems need to be improved.

(China Daily 07/21/2007 page3)

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