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Focus back on sewage as girl, 12, falls into ditch

By Li Qian and Dong Zhen   (Shanghai Daily)

15:14, April 02, 2013

Authorities in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, are carrying out an intensive search for a 12-year-old girl who fell into a roadside drainage ditch and was swept away on Sunday.

It was the second such incident in China in the last 10 days, giving rise to renewed fears of unsafe public sewage facilities in the country.

The incident occurred about 5pm on Sunday when Wang Chunlan, along with another girl, was walking on the melting snow and fell into a ditch, said Kang Baoxin, a local community official.

Water in the ditch was only about 1 meter deep but Wang was swept away by its force, the People's Daily website reported yesterday.

Wang's friend informed her parents, who rushed to the spot. Wang's mother went down the ditch three times but was unable to find her.

Hundreds of villagers joined the search along with dozens of firefighters. A trencher was also called in to carry out dredging work on both sides of the ditch.

A similar accident happened last month when 21-year-old Yang Lijun fell into an open manhole during torrential rain in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, on March 22.

The cover was said to have been flushed away by rain.

Despite rescue personnel scouring the drainage system and even in the Xiangjiang River, she was not found.

Netizens blamed the unsafe public sewage facilities for the tragedy and dubbed them "killing traps."

"If guardrails had been put up around the ditch, the girl wouldn't have fallen into it," a microblogger said.

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