The Huaihe River valley encountered a great flood this July, forcing river-harnessing work to get under way quickly.
The Huaihe River Water Resources Commission of the Ministry of Water Resource recently issued a timetable for fighting flooding along the river valley. By the end of 2007, flood and water-logging prevention, and disaster reduction systems, adapting to the economic and social development along the river valley, will be complete. By 2008, local residents should be extricated from suffering regular flooding.
According to Qian Min, director of the Huaihe River Water Resources Commission, although it has been 50 years since China took action on fighting Huaihe River flooding problems, embankment standards are still at a low level and flood-prevention systems need to be improved.
In accordance with the instructions of central government, harnessing of the Huaihe River has a great deal to do with the development and stability of the country, and the commission has set three major tasks for harnessing the river and issued a timetable of its details.
· Taking three years to resettle 1.2 million residents living in the flood path, flood storage areas and flood land along the Huaihe River and promoting reconstruction after flooding. Before the winter season sets in this year, resettling 400,000 residents whose houses have tumbled down in the flood; ensuring all victims have houses to live in; re-strengthening embankments in flood path areas; completing building projects for both storage and receding floodwaters before the rain season of 2004 sets in; completing parts of the facilities construction of draining water-logged fields and parts of risk-area elimination projects in places vulnerable to flooding.
· Taking five years to complete 19 backbone projects, and making full use of the projects in flood control and disaster mitigation by the end of 2007.
· Taking five years to improve flood and water logging prevention systems. According to the problems exposed in this year’s flooding, calamities caused by water logging were bigger than those caused by floodwater along the Huaihe River valley. The Huaihe River Water Resources Commission plans to fundamentally complete the restructuring and improving of flood paths and flood storage areas along the mainstream of the river to the east of Bengbu by the end of 2007. This will include strengthening water ways to the Yangtze River, diverting water of the Huaihe River to the Yihe River, and enhancing the draining capacity of water-logged fields, particularly in plain low-lying areas.
Qian Min said the flood control standards of the Huaihe River would rise greatly if the three major tasks could be completed smoothly in five years according to the plan. When full use is made of the Linhuaigang water-conservation work in flood paths and storage areas, flood control standards on the middle and lower reaches of the Huaihe River’s mainstream will witness an unprecedented high level. The capacity of draining water-logged fields in parts of the low-lying areas along the river will also be significantly enhanced.
(China.org.cn translated by Zhang Tingting, September 4, 2003)