CHINA / SOCIETY
Coal mines, railways, power resume as water recedes in flood-hit Shanxi
Published: Oct 14, 2021 12:08 AM
As water recedes, people's lives in flood-hit Shanxi Province are gradually returning to normal with coal mines and railways resuming operation. 

As the Global Times visited the flood-stricken province on Wednesday, reporters saw that people's lives and the operation of companies had returned to normal after days of rescue. Resources relocation and disinfection become the focus of current disaster relief.

A flood-stricken village in Jinzhong, a city in Shanxi, was bathed in sunlight on Wednesday, drawing elderly people outside to chat, drink tea and enjoy their leisure after record rainfall. 

Sludge on main roads had been all cleared; some rescue tents that were used during flooding could still be seen, although they were no longer in use, and power and water supplies had returned to normality. 

Mu Gangming, the director of the Xiatuhe Village Party Committee, told the Global Times that the sudden and severe rainfall last week was about three times as intense as normal. It washed away the main part of a bridge and nearby farmland. 

The remaining bridge was soaked in water and the river course had expanded to about 50 meters from its previous 15-20 meters.

Mu said that damage to residents had been slight as the local government displaced hundreds of residents living in low-lying regions ahead of the flooding. But the decision to use the farmland of the villagers as a flood-relief channel, in order to relieve upstream and downstream pressure, damaged more than 2,600 mu of farmland.

Authorities later will come to make specific plans to rebuild the bridge and restore damaged arable land, the Global Times learned. 

Efforts of unity shine in an emergency. Flood relief could not be made without the participation of Party members, villagers and volunteers and aid from all over the country.

Tian Ergou, 69, a Party member, has been stationed at the broken bridge for eight days. "I must ensure no one comes close to the spot. I stay here almost 24 hours a day. As a Party member, I shoulder responsibility to protect my homeland," the old man said. 

The Global Times learned that all kinds of rescue workers came to aid flood-stricken Shanxi. Wang Xinyan, the leader of the Shanxi provincial Blue Sky Rescue Emergency Coordination Center, said the Blue Sky team organized more than 1,000 rescue personnel to go to Shanxi as a first step.

After days of unceasing work, the rescue mission in Shanxi has been basically finished, and arrangements for residents, resources relocation and disinfection will be the next focus, Wang said. 

Li Kehu, the head of the publicity department of Jiexiu, a city where the majority of regions were stricken by floods, told the Global Times that he is grateful that Jiexiu received all kinds of aid from people, organizations, companies and governments from across China, and the aid will gradually be distributed to residents in need. 

Provincial officials said on Tuesday that the basic livelihoods of flood-affected residents in Shanxi were secured, life and work had been gradually restored and post-disaster reconstruction was rolled out in an orderly way.  

Continuous torrential rain last week led to floods in 37 rivers within the province, affected the normal operations of expressways and railways, and triggered breaches of several sections along the Fenhe River. 

The abutment of a bridge in Qixian county of Jinzhong - the Nantongpu railway bridge - was destroyed, forcing the railway to stop on October 6. At the site, the Global Times saw that resuce forces of local departments were working around the clock to restore normal operations.

The Nantongpu railway is the main traffic route linking Shanxi Province with neighboring Shaanxi Province, and it's also an important passenger and freight transport channel running through central and southern Shanxi itself. 

It runs 60 pairs of trains every day, including 30 coal trains. Its normal operation is of great significance for passenger travel, national energy security and economic development of the province. The Global Times learned that the upstream direction of the railway resumed on October 8, and the other direction was resumed on early Thursday.

An on-site geological prospecting staffer told the Global Times on Wednesday that for two days, the geological department has been collecting samples to detect whether the flood has altered the geological environment of the bridge, to ensure the safe operation of the railway. 

According to media reports, as of Monday, 530 high-voltage electric lines in Yuncheng, Linfen, Taiyuan and Jinzhong were suspended due to heavy rain, leading to more than 330,000 users having power cuts.  

But as of Tuesday, power resumed for 95 percent of those users, and 482 of the affected lines were recovered thanks to the efforts of 12,948 rescuers. Moreover, 56 of the 60 flood-affected coal mines in Shanxi had resumed production, media reported on Wednesday.

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