Empty streets, suspended schools, work from home. Heaviest rain of the year tests Beijing's emergency response
Published: Jul 12, 2021 04:03 PM
Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Cities and provinces in North China including Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei have been soaked in heavy rain starting Sunday night. The situation may not end until Tuesday. 

Local meteorological bureaus issued several warnings before the rainfall, and various government departments, especially traffic management departments, also made emergency preparations. The operation of the storm-hit cities is relatively smooth at present.

From 6 pm Sunday to 12 pm Monday, the capital city Beijing received an average of 80.1 mm of rainfall and a maximum of 177.6 mm.

Beijing has repeatedly issued warning signals for rainstorm, floods and heavy wind to citizens from Sunday afternoon. The city announced the suspension of kindergartens and primary and secondary schools on Monday. The municipal government also suggested that company employees should stagger their commute to work or work from home.

Beijing's two airports, Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport, adjusted 462 flights on Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported. As of 7 am Monday, 10 flights had been canceled in Beijing Capital International Airport, with heavier precipitation expected to follow.

In response to the rainfall, the Beijing subway also postponed the last train time, opened several additional temporary buses and conducted a rigorous hidden-hazard inspection before the rainfall.

In the early hours of Monday morning, the last train on Line 7 was extended to 1 am, and nine additional temporary trains were operated, transporting an extra 4,020 people. The maximum capacity placement hours for the morning and evening rush hours on Monday will also be extended by one hour, with 16 additional temporary trains.

As of 9 am, a total of 1.518 million passengers, about 7% of the city's population, entered the metro network. 

Before the rainfall started, Beijing Metro conducted a re-examination of 172 kilometers of metro lines tracks and 37 low-lying entrances and exits to ensure smooth drainage. Since the rainfall warning was issued, more than 10,000 employees have been on duty for operation protection, and more than 1,200 emergency rescue personnel have been kept on standby at all times.

A number of tourist sites in suburban mountainous areas have been temporarily closed. All outdoor sports, cultural and commercial activities in Beijing have been suspended from Sunday night. 

Rain of such intensity, though relatively higher than in recent years, is within expectations in Beijing's flood season of July and August, which accounts for nearly 70 percent of the city's annual rain falls, Zhang Mingying, a Beijing-based meteorologist, told the Global Times. 

Beijing is not the only city hit by heavy rains. Its neighboring cities and provinces of Tianjin and Hebei were all hit by heavy rainfall. Other provinces also encountered varying degrees of heavy rainfall during the rainy season. Earlier last week, a heavy rainfall in the Southwest China's Sichuan Province affected 589,400 people, with 109,900 people relocated, causing direct losses of 1.774 billion yuan ($274 million). Heavy rains in the past few weeks also caused economic losses of more than 20 million yuan ($3,089,100) in Leping, East China's Jiangxi Province.

China's Ministry of Water Resources has sent working groups to Beijing, Hebei, Southwest China's Sichuan, Chongqing, East China's Jiangsu and Northeast China's Heilongjiang to guide and assist local flood control efforts.

Global Times