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Beijing beefs up flood safety

By Zheng Xin (China Daily)

08:38, July 16, 2013

A Beijing resident wears an improvised hat in the rain on Monday. According to the Beijing Water Authority, an average of 45.9 millimeters of rain fell on the city from 8 pm Sunday to 11 am Monday. (Wang Jing / China Daily)

Beijing is increasing safety inspections related to the predicted heavy rainfall in the capital to avoid a repeat of the flooding disaster during a storm last year that claimed dozens of lives.

Tens of thousands of rescue personnel are making inspections in Beijing, especially around the mountainous areas in the suburbs and overpasses downtown.

The 2012 storm, the city's worst rainfall in 61 years, affected millions of people in the capital, resulting in economic losses of up to 10 billion yuan ($1.63 billion) and forcing thousands to evacuate their homes, the municipal government said.

Beijing Drainage Group Co Ltd said the capital is well prepared for flood season this year, with drainage capacity at 72 overpasses updated.

In the event of an extraordinary rainstorm, about 3,000 cubic meters of water will be pumped out of flood-prone areas. About 900 cubic meters of water will be pumped during a moderate downpour.

Monitors are in place at low-lying areas beneath ground level, including underpasses. Warning signs on most underpasses vulnerable to flooding have been installed to indicate the water levels there.

The city also has started upgrading its drainage system, especially in some overpasses and low-lying areas.

Deep water at 52 sites in downtown Beijing resulted in economic losses and resulted in deaths in the 2012 storm.

A 34-year-old man drowned in a stranded car beneath the Guangqumen overpass on the East Second Ring Road after flooding submerged the area due to the poor drainage system.

The Beijing Water Authority said average rainfall from 8 pm Sunday to 11 am Monday throughout the city hit 45.9 millimeters, and has had little effect on the capital.

Beijing's Miyun district and Huairou district have seen the most rainfall in Beijing this flood season, with 170 millimeters.

Even if the rainfall slows down after Monday afternoon, the BWA still cautions the public to avoid mountainous areas in case of landslides.

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