CHINA / SOCIETY
Evacuations underway in Henan’s flooded cities
Published: Jul 25, 2021 11:25 AM Updated: Jul 25, 2021 06:03 PM
Stranded residents are evacuated on shovel loaders in flood-hit Xinxiang City, central China's Henan Province, July 24, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

Stranded residents are evacuated on shovel loaders in flood-hit Xinxiang City, central China's Henan Province, July 24, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)



The flood-stricken cities of Xinxiang and Hebi in Central China's Henan Province are engaged in an intense emergency evacuation of residents from low-lying areas due to lingering and potentially perilous waterlogging. More than 1.71 million people, or about a quarter of Xinxiang's population, are affected by the heavy rain and flooding, which has particularly hit 11 counties and districts in Xinxiang.

Crumbling dikes in the cities caused elevated water levels and prevented the previous flooding from draining away. An all-effort to repair the flood defenses is underway with sandbags and rocks used to bolster the banks.

In Xinxiang on Saturday, the Global Times found that a broken dike segregating the city's main drainage channels - the Weihe River and the Gongqu Canal - had caused the rivers to become one large channel, which backed up into the city and subsequently flooded nearby villages.

Global Times reporters rode a giant excavator in Xinxiang bypassing the area late on Saturday night because the water in low-lying areas had reached 1.6 meters deep. Floodwater drainage is in full swing.

Some of the areas near the breached dike in Xinxiang were stricken by flooding up to two or three meters deep. Tens of thousands of people were reportedly stuck. Rescue efforts in many residential areas were continuing when the Global Times reporter left at midnight, with kayaks being pressed into use to drag people out. Many families were still waiting on the streets late into the night to be moved to resettlement areas.

Military and civilian rescue groups totaling thousands of people rushed to evacuate stranded residents from surrounding villages, toiling from early morning to late on Saturday. 

Various types of professional rescue equipment, including kayaks and speedboats were put into use.

Vulnerable groups, seniors and children were given priority and were carried on the backs of rescue workers, before being sent to nearby temporary shelters set up by the government.

A father and his son have lunch in a classroom building on Sunday after being displaced by flooding and relocated at a primary school in Xinxiang, Central China's Henan Province on Sunday. The school was turned into a shelter to house 1,000 residents evacuated from flooded villages. Photo: Li Hao/GT

A father and his son have lunch in a classroom building on Sunday after being displaced by flooding and relocated at a primary school in Xinxiang, Central China's Henan Province on Sunday. The school was turned into a shelter to house 1,000 residents evacuated from flooded villages. Photo: Li Hao/GT



Media reported that as of July 24, more than 10,000 people were trapped in Xinxiang waiting to be evacuated. As of Friday, the flooding had affected 1,710,862 people, including 158,456 people who were relocated. Some 208 houses have collapsed. The direct economic loss to Xinxiang so far is about 1.9 billion yuan ($0.29 billion), Henan Daily reported.

Overall, heavy rainfall in Henan Province since July 16 has left 63 people dead and five missing. More than 852,000 people were relocated and more than 876.6 thousand hectares of crops were ruined, and 8,876 households collapsed.

A government document seen by the Global Times showed that the city of Hebi requisitioned some residences ahead of an expected flood discharge, with evacuations at all 17 villages nearby underway before the water was released. 

Dike repair progressing 

The Henan branch of the Chinese People's Armed Police has been working in full force since Thursday to fill a dike breach along the Gongqu Canal in Xinxiang by using sandbags, rocks and even abandoned trucks. 

As of press time, the 100-meter long, 8-meter-deep breach was largely patched up.

Long hours in the water and high temperatures have left many armed police soldiers with a thick rash on their bodies. Some ran a fever, but everyone toughed it out. 

By Saturday afternoon, more than 8,800 People's Liberation Army and armed police forces, 16,000 militia and reservists, and three helicopters had been dispatched to carry out rescue and reconstruction missions in Henan.

Temporary shelters operating well

The Global Times reporters visited a temporary shelter at a primary school in Muye district, one of the hardest-hit areas in Xinxiang. It has accommodated 1,000 residents evacuated from four flooded villages. Every classroom used for sleeping looks clean and well-ordered, and bedding and toiletries distributed to everyone were neatly laid out.

Media reported that the education bureau of Xinxiang has designated more than 200 schools across the city as temporary resettlement sites for flood victims. School settlements provide water, electricity and even accommodation.

Li Gongjia, principal of a primary school in Muye district, told the Global Times that all the classrooms are filled with villagers, and each classroom accommodated four to five families and is assigned a liaison to provide services and advice. 

Villagers told the Global Times that some people have sought refuge with relatives out of town, while the rest are waiting for flood relief while they wait to go home.

The campus has set up a temporary clinic stocked with medications provided free of charge by nearby clinics and hospitals. Visiting doctors are on call 24/7.

Donations from across the country have been pouring in. Neighboring families, restaurants and chain hotels are constantly sending hot water and hot food to the shelter which are "more than enough for everyone here," Li said. 


blog comments powered by Disqus