Battling deluge

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, August 13, 2010
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Though water levels in the Yangtze River are receding, the areas along a section of the Songhuajiang River in Jilin province have been hit by the worst torrent in centuries. Rainstorms are forecast to batter this northeastern province again in the next three days.

The priority now is to safely evacuate residents from the most vulnerable regions and reinforce embankments so as to trim losses.

Twenty-eight villages in nine counties have been besieged by the flood. Local governments have already rescued 45,000 residents. More rescue workers have been sent to scour the devastated area and ensure no resident is left behind.

In the lower reaches of the river, nearly 20,000 residents living along its banks have been evacuated to safety lest rainstorms burst riverbanks.

Around 9,000 youngsters in the region are sparing no effort to strengthen the embankments.

Local governments are being severely tested; the pace and cost of rescue efforts is mounting.

Premier Wen Jiabao is in the province to oversee disaster relief and prevention initiatives.

Even after the waters recede, much needs to be done to help villagers get back on their feet. The province has to also rebuild over 600 bridges destroyed by the deluge.

Winter too will come earlier to this northeastern province than elsewhere. That will add urgency to efforts to rebuild homes ravaged by the rains.

New bridges and homes must not only be rebuilt quickly, it must also withstand stronger downpours in future.

The total loss nationwide from the damage has amounted to more than 40 billion yuan, three times that in an ordinary year.

Many small-scale facilities have been proved to be in a state of disrepair while the frequency of extreme weather conditions like rainstorms has been increasing due to global warming.

Consolidation of these facilities nationwide should top the government's work agenda.


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