Rains bring flooding to northern China, Yangtze

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Floodwaters almost submerge a ferry bridge in Rong'an county in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Friday. [Photo by Tan Kaixing/For China Daily]

Heavy rains are expected to continue causing floods along small rivers in China's Yangtze River region after the country triggered its emergency response on June 21, water resources departments and meteorological services said.

The downpours that began to affect the Yangtze River region, southwestern and southern China on Saturday will continue until Monday, according to the National Meteorological Center.

On Friday, meteorological services in Wuhan, Hubei province, issued the highest-level red alert for heavy rains and the Xinjiang River Hydrology and Water Resources Monitoring Center in Jiangxi province issued a yellow alert for floods, the second lowest level of its four-tier system. Meteorological services in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region warned of potential disasters and flooding along small rivers due to heavy rain, hail and strong winds.

The rains are likely to cause the Yangtze River and rivers leading from the Poyang, Dongting and Taihu lakes to swell visibly, the Ministry of Water Resources said.

Flood prevention has been beefed up. The ministry has sent 10 working groups as of June 30 to Heilongjiang province, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, East China's Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces, Southwest China's Guizhou and Yunnan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

By Thursday, the Jiangxi government had evacuated 54,000 people from a number of cities to locations safe from rising waters, local media reported.

A man rides along a flooded riverbank in Rong'an. [Photo by Tan Kaixing/For China Daily]

By June 26, Heilongjiang province's local governments had evacuated about 19,000 residents from the Greater Khingan Mountains area, and Heihe and Mudanjiang cities, where floods were affecting about 60,000 hectares of farmland, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

"Heilongjiang local governments should send experts to ensure the safety of houses that have been flooded for extended periods. No one should be allowed to live in such buildings. Fishing is banned in flooded areas, and traffic is forbidden on dangerous roads," said a notice issued by the Heilongjiang provincial government.

On June 21, the Ministry of Water Resources identified the country's first major river flood so far this year as having happened on the Nenjiang, a tributary of Heilongjiang's Songhua River.

Ning Fanggui, an official with the Songhua and Liaohe Rivers Water Resources Committee, told thepaper.cn that this year, flooding in northeastern China is heavier and a month earlier than normal due to frequent and heavy rainfall.

"Northeast China experienced more rain this June due to a cold vortex from the north," he was quoted as saying.

At a work meeting this week, Zhou Xuewen, vice-minister at the Ministry of Water Resources, said that local flood control and drought relief headquarters should enhance real-time consultation, prediction and supervision.

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