Millions brace for coming typhoon in S China

08:07, July 16, 2010      

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Fishing boats are lined up at a port in Haikou, capital of Hainan province, on Thursday. More than 24,000 boats have docked at the port in response to local authorities' warning of the approaching typhoon. (China Daily)

Heavy rains and an approaching typhoon in the next two days will batter South China and exacerbate floods, which have already killed 135 people since July 1, authorities said.

As of 4 pm on Thursday, some 35.5 million people in 10 southern provinces and Chongqing municipality had been affected by continuous rainstorms and floods since July 1, the Civil Affairs Ministry said in a notice.

About 113,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 1.2 million people relocated, it said.

The latest round of heavy rains, which are expected to trigger more floods and landslides, in central and southern China are forecast to continue for two more days along the mid and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and Huaihe River, the Central Meteorological Administration said on Thursday.

Moreover, a typhoon named Conson, which is moving northwestwards, is expected to hit South China on Friday or Saturday.

Chen Lei, deputy commander-in-chief of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said the coming rain would exacerbate floods as water levels of the Yangtze River, Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake and Taihu Lake continue to rise.

Monitoring results suggested the water level of all sections of the Yangtze River had already exceeded the annual average for mid-July, posing flood threats along the river.

"Although the current situation along the Yangtze River has yet to reach a dangerous level, it is definitely at a crucial point," Wang Jingquan, director of the flood control and drought relief office affiliated to the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, told China Daily.

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have ordered ministries and local governments to ensure the safety of the public and minimize property losses as the country enters the flood season.

Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu on Wednesday presided over a video conference on flood control and relief work along the Yangtze River, making flood control arrangements with local governments in Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Sichuan provinces and Chongqing municipality.

Torrential rains in East China's Jiangxi province since Tuesday have caused 12 reservoirs to overflow, triggering flash floods and forcing the evacuation of more than 70,000 people by Wednesday night, the local flood control authority said.

Flash floods occurred in Poyang county at about 5 am on Wednesday after it rained as much as 23.2 cm (9.1 inches) in just six hours.

Water spilled over dikes at reservoirs in Poyang and Duchang counties and cut off electricity and road access, trapping tens of thousands of people before armed police came to their rescue.

A 1,187-strong armed force carrying 54 speedboats and 54 vehicles from Jingdezhen, Shangrao and Jiujiang military sub-commands were dispatched to Poyang and Duchang.

No casualties have been reported so far in Jiangxi, the local flood control office said.

"Rain has continued to lash Jingdezhen city and Poyang county. Local authorities are organizing retreats as soon as they spot impending danger," an official said.

The provincial meteorological station warned of consecutive landslides in Jingdezhen and Shangrao in the days to come.

Hainan province also initiated a level-three emergency pre-plan for typhoon Conson on Thursday.

By Thursday afternoon, more than 24,000 fishing boats had returned to ports in response to authorities' warning.

Source:China Daily


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