Drinking water, food delivered to stranded town

09:08, June 13, 2011      

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Local government is rationing out food and water to about 4,100 villagers after floods ravaged Guandao township, Tongcheng county, in Central China's Hubei province.

About 4,100 villagers are struggling to obtain food and clothes as the township has none in stock and the flood has contaminated 860 drinking wells, the township government said.

"We could roughly hold on for another three days with the resources freighted in on Saturday evening by the civil affairs authority of Tongcheng county," a senior township official surnamed Hu told China Daily on Sunday.

"But if the authority stops supplying us, food and drinking water will run out very soon."

However, traffic in and out of Guandao - the Tongcheng township at the lowest altitude and therefore the worst hit by the torrential rains - has been severely interrupted, according to local officials.

Vehicles going between Guandao and Tongcheng county seat must wait their turns to pass the damaged road, which is now "as narrow as one lane" at some sections.

Hu said since relief teams were also repairing paralyzed roads linking the township and its 20 villages, essential supplies must be carried on shoulders to the needy.

"Even motorbikes cannot pass," he said. "We can only use hands and shoulders to deliver essential supplies."

For example, it takes about three hours to walk the 10 km from Guandao to one of its villages, Taiyuan.

The flood that triggered a mudslide in the township on Friday had killed 10 people, and affected 30,000 by Saturday afternoon.

Heavy trucks, snapped trees and electric poles were thrown into the river that burst its banks in Guandao.

"The flash flood looked like waves, raging about 2 meters high (in the small river)," said Wu Peng, a local whose brother's two-story house was smashed into bricks and sands.

Five of Wu's relatives, including his brother, died during the night. One of the bodies was found in neighboring Chongyang county at a lower reach of the river.

According to Guandao officials, the flood and mudslide toppled 400 houses and hollowed out 20 gaps on local roads. Telecommunications and electricity had not resumed by Saturday night.

Gan Laojiu, deputy head of Tongcheng county, told China Daily local governments have shifted their work focus from rescue to helping the affected people find shelter.

"As well as food and bottled water, we are distributing 200 boxes of water purification agent to every township, including Guandao," Gan said.

The Xianning city government, which administers Guandao, has ordered that every evacuated person should be guaranteed shelter, food, clothes, water and medical services.

Source: China Daily
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