Thunder, Lightening and Pouring Rain: East China Is Flooded, and Dikes Collapse in Anhui Province
During the past few days, the East China area has experienced a continuous rainstorm, resulting in the largest flood in the past 12 years. Anhui is the province that is the most seriously affected by the storm. Yesterday, the rainstorm caused parts of the local dike to collapse. The China National Flood and Drought Prevention General Headquarters issued a warning on July 8, 2003 that the Huai River basin will have continuous rain for three days and it is possible that flooding will increase. According to China Irrigation Minister Wang Shucheng, more than thirty thousand reservoirs across the country have water quality problems, which make the flood prevention even more serious.
According to the Sun Newspaper, at 6 p.m. on July 8, 2003, the sky above the Chu River basin suddenly erupted with lightning, thunder, and rain, while the water level in the Chu River rose dramatically. A section of dike 67 meters long (220 ft.) in Danzi Town of Anhui province collapsed. The related department has begun to work on the emergency.
If the Chu River dike collapses, it will endanger more than one million people's lives and disrupt the Beijing-Shanghai railway line, which is a few hundred meters away. The resulting flood would also threaten the safety of Nanjing city, which is 50 kilometers (31 miles) away.
China's official media, the Xinhua News Agency, said 13 people have died and the lives of 1 million people have been disrupted due to the flooding in East China. Three provinces along the Huai River CAnhui, Jiangsu, and Henan Chave been most heavily affected. Approximately 380,000 people live in the flooded valley area of the Huai River. In addition, the rising flood has cut off 1.15 million people from the outside world. The related departments have started to open the sluice gate to lower the flood levels.
An official of the Anhui provincial government told the Agence France Presse, "From the amount of rainfall and the water level of the flood, this is the largest flood of the Huai River since 1991."
According to the BBC, Jiangsu province, which is close to Anhui, the capital city of Nanjing, had a rainfall of 195 mm. (7.7 inches), the largest rainfall in the past 72 years. The streets of Nanjing are flooded, many buses and cars have been flooded, and residents have had to walk in the water. Many affected residents are currently living in temporary housing located in schools and factories.
According to the China Central Meteorological Observatory forecast, the Huai River basin and Han River will be continuously subjected to rainstorms in the coming two days; the area affected will include Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan, and Guizhou provinces.