Measures in place for flood relief

13:19, June 19, 2011      

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Two days after flood waters broke through damaged dykes and inundated dozens of villages in this mid-sized city in central Zhejiang, the local government is busy preparing for yet another round of disaster relief as more rain is forecast.

They are also careful to monitor possible outbreaks of diseases.

For many victims, including children and the elderly stranded in partly submerged houses since Thursday morning, the biggest concern is how to gain access to clean water and food, and how to manage the huge losses from the floods.

Since rising water levels from torrential rain breached the dykes for the first time in Jiangzao township early on Thursday, the local government has sent teams of rescuers on rubber boats and fishing vessels to deliver bottled water and instant noodles to stranded victims.

But the supplies are scant, and housewife Tang Wanluo - and many others in the Mochengwu village that has a population of 4,000 - is starting to worry about feeding the weaker members of her family.

They have not been able to leave their house as the water remained as deep as three meters in some areas, despite having largely subsided on Saturday,

"The flood hit us unprepared, leaving many families with no food supplies stored up," said the middle-aged Tang, who with her 14-year-old son and a mother-in-law in her 70s, has been stranded in the house with its first floor under water.

They have been cut off from power supply and clean water, and the family has been hard at work trying to salvage some appliances and furniture. For days, the family relied on water and vegetables delivered by the woman's husband, who used a makeshift boat made from a wooden door and old tires.

"It was a really harsh blow," the woman said, as her son tried to calm their barking dogs. His school has been closed due to the floods.

At least they have fresh vegetables, but Zhang Yunlong and his family are less fortunate.

Their only rations for the past few days have been packets of instant noodles delivered by relief workers.

"How can you manage three meals a day with just instant noodles," said Zhang, a native of Anhui province who had been working at a nearby factory.

"The potential outbreak of an epidemic is not on our minds right now. It's how we will make a living if the flood does not subside quickly in the following days," Zhang said as he looked at his son, a junior middle school student.

Blue skies are not in the outlook, and meteorologists say downpours, which hit nearby Shanghai and Jiangsu province on Saturday, are forecast to hit Zhuji during the weekend. Precipitation could be as much as 12 centimeters in some regions.

"Flood control and disaster prevention against a new round of rainfall are the key tasks for the moment," local government said in a press release on Saturday.

Since Friday, Zhuji has identified spots where flash floods and mudslides are likely to occur, and increased all-day patrol near these areas, the statement said.

The government has launched top-level emergency response, requiring staff to be on full alert at the civil affairs department and the city's 96 emergency shelters.

Meanwhile, the local civil affairs bureau has allocated relief resources worth 1.15 million yuan ($178,000) in four batches. One ton of medicine and disinfectants, 600,000 doses of animal vaccines, 320 tons of seeds, as well as other necessities for rural production have been prepared, local government said.

Source: China Daily
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