The flood-battered banks of the Huaihe River are at risk of washing away,
posing a grave threat to the homes of millions of people, Xinhua News Agency
Torrential rains have wrought havoc across large parts of China this summer,
most recently in the southwest and the east, killing more than 500 people and
causing billions of dollars in damage.
More rain has been forecast.
The swollen Huaihe River, the third largest in the country, has entered a
critical period for flood control efforts, officials with the flood control
headquarters of Jiangsu Province said yesterday.
The rainy season is expected to end within the next few days, but many dikes
face an increased risk of breaches after weeks of pressure from high water
levels, Xinhua quoted officials as saying.
It was estimated that the water level of the Jiangsu section of the Huaihe
River would remain dangerously high for at least the next 10 days.
The river has displaced about half a million people in Henan, Anhui and
Jiangsu provinces since the start of this month. Many of them are still unable
to return home.
Tens of thousands of troops were on guard to battle any breaches along the
Anhui section of the river, which reportedly has 546 potential "danger" spots,
46 of them serious, Xinhua said.
The Jiangsu provincial government has dispatched 150,000 people to patrol the
dikes since the beginning of this month. The province has invested 67 million
yuan ($8.8 million) in reinforcing 400 dikes.
Dozens of villages were deliberately inundated in Anhui to ease pressure at
the height of the flooding. Xinhua said the pressure was "moderating". That
could change as more rain is forecast in the coming days in the upper reaches of
"People's physical and financial strength is wearing out. They tend to be
less alert," Ji Bing, a top flood control official in Anhui, was quoted as
In Chongqing, residents were coping with the aftermath of the worst rainstorm
in more than a century. At least 42 died in floods, landslides and other
Tens of thousands of rural residents whose houses were destroyed were living
in schools and tents and depended on food rations, Xinhua said, adding that
downpours were expected to batter Chongqing and neighboring Sichuan Province
Chongqing and Sichuan were suffering their worst drought in over 100 years at
this time last year, leading some to blame the massive Three Gorges Dam for its
meteorological and ecological impacts.
But Xinhua on Monday quoted government experts as saying that there was no
conclusive evidence to link either the drought or the flood to the dam on the
Yangtze River, China's longest.
Heavy rain also hit the southwestern province of Yunnan last week, killing
about 60 people. At least 29 workers building a hydro-power plant died when
mudslides buried their shelters early on Thursday.
In the northern province of Shanxi, 11 coal miners remained trapped after
flash floods triggered by heavy rain submerged their pit on Sunday. Rescue
efforts were hampered by rocks and mud, Xinhua said.
Meanwhile, days of scorching heat were expected to continue in five provinces
in China's south and southeast on Tuesday, the National Meteorological Centre
forecast on its Web site (www.nmc.gov.cn).
Temperatures in the provinces of Zhejiang, Fujiang, Jiangxi, Guangdong and
Hunan could reach 39 C, while in Turpan, Xinjiang Special Administrative Region,
the temperature could hit 43 C, the centre said.
(China Daily 07/25/2007 page4)