China / Society

New media to assist with flood warnings

By Xu Wei ( Updated: 2016-05-27 21:45

People in Beijing will be able to use social media and mobile web-mapping services to check the flooding of roads, the Beijing municipal office for flood control and drought relief said on Friday.

Liu Hongwei, a spokesman for the flood control authority, said that the capital will be on high alert for flooding starting June 1, and more than 270,000 people will be mobilized in the case of major flooding.

"It means that our task force will be standing by for rainstorms and floods 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said.

He added that social media users can also report flooding.

Information will be available through social media including Sina Weibo and WeChat, mobile phone applications, and mobile web-mapping services offered by AutoNavi Software and Baidu.

On July 21, 2012, a strong rainstorm and ensuing floods in the capital left 79 people dead, with thousands of homes flooded and the main transport network disabled.

One of the major problems was the lack of drainage capacity on major road networks, as rainwater built up underneath overpasses, submerging vehicles and endangering drivers.

Jia Shangkuan, a flood control official with Beijing Drainage Group, said the company has expanded the drainage capacity of pump stations under 68 overpasses.

"In the past, the pump stations were only able to cope with the kinds of rainstorms that take place once a year. Now we can cope with the kinds of rainstorms that occur only once every 10 years," he said.

Qiao Lin, chief of the Beijing Meteorological Service, said the service expects the capital to receive 10 to 20 percent less rainfall than previous years.

"But that does not mean the risk of flooding has decreased this year. In Beijing, the intensity and amount of precipitation in a single rainstorm are the key factors that determine whether a rainstorm can result in a major flooding," Qiao said.

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