On July 10, Hedu River in Huarong county, Hunan, broke through its river banks following historic levels of heavy rains. Multiple villages downstream of the river were flooded and over 10,000 people were evacuated by the local government.
According to Xinhua, the evacuation began just one hour before the dike was breached.
In an effort to stop the flooding, trucks laden with rocks have been crashed into the river. A total of eight trucks have been crashed into the gap in what seems like a make-shift and dangerous operation. In their mission, the truck drivers were merely given a life jacket and had ropes tied around their waist before driving their vehicle into raging floodwater, Sina reports. Initially, they just tried to tip their loads into the water, but eventually it became necessary to drive the whole truck in.
Weeks of torrential rain across central and southern China have caused the nation’s worst flooding since 1998, killing at least 173 people and costing tens of billions of RMB in damages, creating potential headwinds to the already stagnant economic growth.
Fortunately, the death toll is far less than in 1998 when 4,150 people were killed by catastrophic flooding. The heavy precipitation from both then and now have been linked to the El Niño effect, which originates in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Flooding is a frequent problem that China faces nearly every year during its rainy season, especially for the 600 million residents who live by the main arteries of China, the Yangtze River and the Yellow River. The death toll from heavy precipitation and flooding has generally been going down every year with increasing government spending on flood prevention. Despite recent efforts, the danger of flooding remains high and major cities like Wuhan still suffer from severe problems with their drainage systems.
Just to give you an idea of how bad this can be. Here’s another picture of a Wuhan stadium turning into a soup bowl.
[Images via Sina / NetEase]