Xi Story: Assessing losses for flood-stricken villagers

(Xinhua) 09:29, September 10, 2023

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visits a villager's home to learn about the losses and the supply of daily necessities in the village of Longwangmiao, Shangzhi City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Sept. 7, 2023. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

HARBIN, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Villager Yang Chungui saw his farmhouse inundated as torrential rains caused severe flooding in Heilongjiang Province in northeast China.

Yang's house in the village of Longwangmiao was built over 20 years ago. The flooding damaged its walls, with water stains measuring over one meter in height still visible.

As he was busy renovating on Thursday morning, President Xi Jinping walked into the house.

"I came by to visit your home," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, as he carefully checked the damage around the 90-square-meter house.

"How much would this (renovation) cost you?" the president asked.

"Less than 60,000 yuan (about 8,170 U.S. dollars), and the government provided some subsidies," Yang replied. "I also took the chance to do some refurbishing."

Yang told Xi that his farmland had also suffered from flooding, but timely guidance from agricultural experts helped him recover some losses.

"What other needs do you have for post-disaster reconstruction?" Xi asked.

"Now we just hope to harvest more grain during the autumn, and if the grain prices are good, we can cover our costs," Yang replied, adding that the government has already taken care of all sorts of other work in post-disaster reconstruction.

Xi looked relieved. "No matter whether it is food, housing, transportation, employment, schooling, medical care, or disease prevention, when the disaster-stricken people feel any inconvenience, governments at all levels must step up efforts to do it well," he said.

Xi has been very concerned about the life of flood-stricken people all along.

Over the past two months, he has closely followed flood situations across the country. He made multiple instructions and convened meetings to plan disaster relief and reconstruction work.

On his inspection of Heilongjiang, Xi went straight from the provincial capital Harbin to Longwangmiao in Shangzhi City, which has been severely affected by the disaster.

Upon arrival, he walked along dirt paths through rice fields, carefully inspecting the crop damage.

He saw large portions of rice plants flattened on the ground, covered in mud.

Learning that about half of the village's farmland was inundated, Xi looked towards the fields with a serious expression.

"How much of the harvest can be salvaged?" Xi asked.

"In the less affected fields, about 50 percent can be salvaged," said a local official.

Xi was informed that besides some subsidies, there was also agricultural insurance compensation for the affected farmlands. He nodded in approval.

In Longwangmiao, Xi also visited a construction site and carefully inquired about the size, layout, and earthquake resistance levels of the house being built. He specifically asked about heating details.

"It gets really cold during the winter in the northeastern region, and people can't afford to endure freezing conditions," Xi told local officials. "Make sure that villagers can move in before winter."

Word spread that the president came to Longwangmiao, and villagers gathered enthusiastically alongside a village road outside Yang's house to greet him.

Xi said this year's flood season has caused severe damage in provinces and municipalities in northern China, including Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, and the northeastern region.

"Many residents have said that they have never experienced such extensive flooding before. I have been concerned about the disaster-stricken areas, and on this trip to Heilongjiang, I specifically came to Shangzhi, which has been heavily affected by the disaster," Xi said.

Noting that the damage is severe to the crops, Xi called for efforts to minimize the losses and recover some of the yields. He reiterated that the restoration of the damaged houses must be finished before winter.

"In China, when our people face difficulties, we must give full play to the advantages of the socialist system, which means that when one place is in trouble, support comes from all quarters, and the state provides full support," Xi said, to a long and enthusiastic applause. 

(Web editor: Chang Sha, Wu Chaolan)


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