Xingtai official denies deaths caused by releasing floodwater Published: 2016/7/23 15:24:31

An official of Xingtai, North China's Hebei Province, denied on Saturday that deaths in this week's floods were caused by a government decision to release the floodwater.

The flooding is the most destructive on record since 1996, and the government did not engage in artificially releasing the floodwater said Qiu Wenshuang, vice mayor of Xingtai, at a recent press conference. To date the flood has caused 36 deaths, with 77 still missing in Hebei Province. 

However, rumors circulating online accused local authorities of failing to alert residents of Daxian village when floodwater was discharged into the area to relieve pressure on a nearby reservoir.

Qiu said the flood was a natural disaster that was too powerful to be prevented. The central government notified the development zone which Daxian belongs to of the imminent threat, and development zone authorities in turn worked to evacuate the villagers, according to Qiu.

Despite these reassurances, a group of villagers and families of the flood victims stopped traffic at an intersection on Friday morning to demand compensation for losses which they believe came as a result of government negligence.

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