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Thursday, October 16, 2003
 
Floods disrupt lives of 350,000 people

Floods disrupt lives of 350,000 people
( 2003-10-15 08:16) (China Daily)



About 350,000 people are being affected by sudden and heavy rainfall and floods in the Yellow and Huaihe river valleys.

Local authorities reported that the sudden rain over the weekend has affected about 260,000 people in Zibo of Shandong Province. Some people's houses have collapsed and there has been widespread crop damage.

Experts said the flood situation along the lower reaches of the Yellow River will not ease for another month.

The continuous rainfall along the Yellow River has caused dykes to collapse in the Lankao section of the river in Central China's Henan Province. About 247 square kilometres of land in neighbouring Shandong Province have been flooded because of breaks in the dyke system. The flood has left about 96,800 people stranded but no deaths have been reported so far.

Apart from Shandong and Henan, people in Shaanxi Province through which the middle reaches of the Yellow River flow, have been fighting floods since August.At least 23 people died when their houses collapsed during five days of torrential rain in the province last week.

Last month, the worst rains in 40 years in the normally dry province killed dozens of people and forced half a million others to flee their homes.

County officials have asked residents to leave their houses if they are in danger of collapsing.

The flood-prone Huaihe River saw its fifth crest this year as heavy rains continued along its upper reaches.

The water level between Wangjiaba and Runheji in Anhui was expected to reach 27.6 metres by 2 pm yesterday, 1.1 metres higher than the warning level, said Anhui provincial flood control headquarters.

A headquarters' spokesman there said the high water level threatened most of the dykes in the diversion areas.

He said the headquarters had already sent three special teams of flood control experts to key areas to direct flood control work.

All flood control offices at city and county levels have been ordered to closely monitor water levels, and a 24-hour-a-day report mechanism has been established, he said.

Official figures show the heavy floods along the Huaihe River this summer claimed at least 16 lives and caused 18.17 billion yuan (US$ 2.2 billion) in direct economic losses in Anhui, Jiangsu and Henan provinces.

Earlier this month, the Chinese Government announced a planned investment of 38 billion yuan (US$4.6 billion) in flood control projects along the Huaihe River in the next five years to better contain the flood-prone river.

Half of the investment will be spent in Anhui Province alone, through which most of the river runs.

The reconstruction of dozens of water control projects, which were allowed to fall into disrepair in the 1950s because of lack of funds, will also be undertaken in provinces along the river.



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