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Shanghai to speed up work on drains
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130-year record rain puts Shanghai in slow lane

Buses, cars and motorbikes surf the streets in downtown Shanghai yesterday. A sudden early-morning rainstorm, the heaviest in 130 years, inundated more than 150 roads in the city center, flooded more than 11,000 homes, caused traffic chaos in the morning rush hour and delayed at least 85 flights in and out of Shanghai's two airports. [Shanghai Daily]

The Shanghai municipal government is to speed up improvements to this city's underground drainage system.

On Monday, torrential rain flooded hundreds of roads and homes, causing great inconvenience to residents.

Zhang Zhenyu, a flood prevention department spokesman, said yesterday the government will improve the drainage in nine districts that are prone to flooding. The work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

"Our key problem is negotiating with residents to move out so that new pipes can be laid," Zhang said.

Under the 11th Five-Year Plan(2006-10), Shanghai is investing 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) to replace old drainage pipes to combat floods, and ensure the safety of residents.

The heavy deluge on Monday morning, which lasted for about three hours, flooded more than 150 roads and 10,000 homes.

Li Guiying, owner of a restaurant on South Yunnan Road, said she had become used to seeing her premises flooded after a heavy downpour.

The 20 sq m restaurant is situated 50 cm below street level, she said.

"In the past 10 years my restaurant has been flooded many times, because we are situated in a low-lying area.

"However, this time I did not expect to see so much damage," Li said.

"All the air conditioners have been damaged, and food spoilt. I have suffered a loss of about 10,000 yuan," she said.

Commenting on residents' complaints, Zhang said the underground drainage was not able to cope with the deluge.

"We had 117 mm of rain per hour," he said.

(China Daily August 27, 2008)

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