Authorities on China's Huaihe
River closed one of the major flood diversion channels on Thursday in
anticipation of further flood peaks to come.
Thirteen sluices at Wangjiaba, a key hydrological station, were closed almost
two days after they were opened in a move to reserve capacity in flood zones,
said an official from the Huaihe River Flood Control and Drought Relief
"We have received an order that when the water level with Wangjiaba falls
back to or below 29.3 meters, the danger line, we should exercise restraint in
diversion operations at Wangjiaba to reserve capacity in the Mengwa zone for
bigger floods and to contain the losses from inundation inside Mengwa," said an
official with the Administration for Wangjiaba Hydrological Station.
The sluices were closed at 9:52 a.m. Thursday after more than 45 hours
operation. By 11:00 a.m., the water level recorded at Wangjiaba was at
The Huaihe River originates from Mount Taibai, Henan Province, and runs
eastward between the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, cutting through Henan
and east China's Anhui and Jiangsu provinces before entering the Yangtze River
via the Hongze Lake.
Concentrated and continuous rainfall has pushed up the Huaihe River, in its
worst flooding since 1954.
The pressure on the embankments along both banks of the Huaihe River has been
mounting, endangering the safety of key cities and railway lines on the middle
and lower reaches of the river.
The sluices at Wangjiaba, in Anhui, were opened at 12:29 p.m. Tuesday to
divert waters to the Mengwa buffer zone, home to 150,000 people.
The move should bring relief to more than 2 million flood-hit residents in
Henan Province, on the upper reaches of the Huaihe River, and alleviate pressure
downstream, said Qiu Ruitian, deputy director of the Office of the State Flood
Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
The opening of the sluices was estimated to have damaged up to 12,000
hectares of cropland inside the 180-square-kilometer Mengwa flood storage area.
The impact on the residents was expected to be limited, said local authorities.
Created in 1953, the area contains four townships, where most of the
residents live in homes built more than 31 meters above sea level.
The Anhui Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters was forced
to put into use three minor flood diversion zones downstream of Wangjiaba on
Wednesday morning and to open 14 sluices at Jiangtanghu to divert water on
Anhui flood control workers have been racing to open the embankment at the
unpopulated Qiujiahu so that floodwaters could be diverted there.
The flooding on the Huaihe River has led to evacuation of almost half a
million people from the projected path of floodwaters from the river. About
343,900 of the 488,800 relocated people came from Anhui Province and the rest
from the provinces of Henan and Jiangsu.
The three provincial authorities have mobilized 511,000 people to patrol the
Huaihe embankments and issue emergency warnings, according to information from
the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
China's central government set aside 232 million yuan (31.35 million U.S.
dollars) on Wednesday to finance the ongoing battle against floods in Anhui,
Jiangsu, Henan, Hubei and Sichuan provinces.
Nationwide, more than 66.3 million Chinese have been affected by floods this
summer, with 360 people killed and losses amounting to 24.3 billion yuan, the
State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters announced on