1st LD-Writethru-China Focus: China upgrades flood control emergency response level after red alert for rainstorms

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BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- China's national observatory on Monday issued this year's first red alert for rainstorms, the highest level in the country's weather warning system, with different provinces implementing various measures to battle the extreme weather.

The National Meteorological Center at 10 a.m. Monday issued a red alert for rainstorms, which was later maintained at 6 p.m., forecasting heavy rains in the provincial-level regions of Hubei, Hunan, Anhui, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Guizhou and Guangxi.

The country's State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Monday raised emergency responses to flooding to Level III in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi.

China has a four-tier flood-control emergency response system, with Level I being the most urgent response and a four-tier, color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe warning, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

One more work team will be sent to Zhejiang to assist in local flood prevention efforts, the headquarters said.

Work teams dispatched to Anhui and Jiangxi will continue their work there, according to the headquarters.

Torrential rains have triggered mountain torrents in Yuanling County in central China's Hunan Province, leaving four dead and one missing, according to the county's emergency management department.

The county has activated its emergency response and organized efforts to ensure the necessary supplies and restore power, telecommunications and transportation services.

On Monday, the provincial capital Changsha saw 15 waterlogged roads after intense rain. The city's subway Line 2 and Line 3 have suspended operations.

In response to the weather warning, the Xin'anjiang Reservoir, built on the upper reaches of the Qiantang River in Zhejiang Province, opened five of its nine floodgates at 3:30 p.m. Monday, according to the provincial water resources department.

As the largest reservoir in east China, the Xin'anjiang Reservoir plays a vital role in flood control in the Qiantang River area.

In the neighboring Anhui Province, the provincial authorities activated red alerts for mountain torrents and geological disasters in three county-level areas in the city of Huangshan, expecting a high probability of mountain torrents and geological disasters from 8 p.m. Monday to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Heavy rain has battered the city of Huangshan since June 18, with the water levels of 99 of its 188 reservoirs recorded above the danger level as of 5 p.m. Sunday. The lives of over 400,000 residents had been affected and 54,109 people had been evacuated as of 3 p.m. Sunday.

By Monday morning, a total of 43 national A-level tourist attractions in Huangshan had been temporarily shut due to the extreme weather. Mount Huangshan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its magnificent natural beauty, has been partially closed since June 20, with the reopening date depending on weather conditions. Enditem

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