Heavy rain submerges parts of central China city

08:13, June 29, 2011      

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A sudden downpour submerged parts of a major city in central China on Tuesday, turning throughways into rivers and halting transportation, in the latest case that highlights Chinese cities' woes in dealing with emergencies.

The downpour started to batter Changsha, capital city of Hunan Province, at noon on Tuesday. Streets in the urban areas were soon in knee-deep water, flooding a number of vehicles on the road, Xinhua reporters witnessed.

Flash water gushing out from road bridges also created a rare scene of waterfalls in the otherwise bustling city center.

The authorities have not reported any casualties in the flooding. Many local residents, though accustomed to heavy seasonal rain, were shocked by the massive flooding.

The city's meteorological authorities said rainfall in the six hours starting from 8 a.m. had reached 54 mm. More rain is forecast in the coming days, prompting urban administrators to order the opening of drainage covers to allow the flood waters to subside faster.

A downpour in Beijing last Thursday wrecked similar havoc. The capital and its 20 million residents had to deal with paralyzed traffic, subway line closures and other inconveniences as the rain caused many areas of the city to become flooded, which has rarely happened in decades.

A top engineer of Beijing's flood control and drought relief headquarters blamed the city's outdated drainage system for the flooding, but experts said the heavy rain also exposed flaws in public transportation and municipal facility management in China's urban mega-centers.

China has been battling rain-triggered disasters since early June.Floods have killed at least 94 people, left 78 missing and forced thousands to evacuate in 13 provinces since the start of flood season, government statistics show.

Source: Xinhua
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