Heavy rainstorms pounded northern China earlier this week, causing serious flooding that has left at least 42 dead and 74 missing.
This is on top of all the devastating flooding that occurred earlier this summer in southern China, killing over 160 people. Taken all together, flooding has left 576 people either dead of missing in China in just the first half of this year, according to China’s Civil Affairs Ministry.
State media reports that around 163,900 people have been forced to evacuate from their homes, mostly in Henan and Hunan provinces. Meanwhile, hundreds of flights and trains at airports and railway stations in Beijing and Tianjin have been delayed or canceled this week. Total direct economic damages are estimated at 4.75 billion yuan.
Waiting on the bus. pic.twitter.com/78TvCTO5Fe
— Shanghaiist.com (@shanghaiist) July 20, 2016
Chinese President Xi Jinping has issued warnings to citizens residing in the capital and has initiated efforts to control flooding, ECNS reports. On Wednesday, the Beijing government issued an orange alert for heavy rain, the second highest alert available.
Damage control is underway across the affected area, with troops being mobilized and emergency measures implemented, such as the controlled discharging of water from the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze.
Meanwhile, Xi has also put the onus on local officials to prevent further deaths, saying that officials who appear negligent in flood prevention and damage relief will be held accountable. Sixth Tone reports that the nationwide flooding has already led to a “deluge of punished officials” with over 100 cadres facing disciplinary actions.
Poor drainage systems in cities across China have been blamed for the severe flooding with images of submerged city streets and shops flooding onto Chinese social media, along with some rather concerning videos.
However, Chinese netizens also couldn’t help but notice one place that was not filled with water — the Forbidden Palace. Despite the fact that Beijing was hard hit by heavy rains, the ancient imperial palace was mostly free of puddles.
“The drainage system is indeed very good, that’s because it was built several hundred years ago,” one netizen wrote in.
By Robin Winship
[Images via People’s Daily]