As devastating floods begin to recede in China’s Henan Province, several cities are still underwater after one week. Citizens in the city of Weihui have used social media to plea for water, food, and shelter in the face of minimal government assistance since July 22.
Flooding affected half of Weihui’s 600,000 residents, and displaced about one-third of the locals, according to a statement from the Henan Provincial government on Wednesday. Locals told the Chinese Epoch Times that some buildings are still submerged to the second floor.
A staffer at the local Weihui flood prevention department said that the local government was acting only as a coordinator for citizens to organize their own evacuation efforts, according to a July 22 report from The Paper.cn.
However, residents who spoke with the Chinese Epoch Times said that the government didn’t offer any coordination. Residents and volunteers began to coordinate and implement their own evacuation effort on Monday.
A rescue team leader, going by the name of Yang (pseudonym), spoke to the Chinese Epoch Times on Tuesday.
“It’s a mess at the rescue sites. No one [from the government] is there to take control or coordinate. Civilian rescue teams are all doing this voluntarily,” Yang said.
Yang added that the military arrived at a later date, but since the local government did not receive the troops, their rescue team had to go back after receiving too many calls from residents.
Another rescue team leader, using the alias Wang, recounted evacuees’ needs to The Epoch Times on Tuesday.
“What we need most are tents, vegetables, meats and other food,” Wang said, adding that the team relocated about 200 evacuees to a kindergarten area.
“All the food and the disaster relief supplies are paid by us. The government hasn’t contacted the kindergarten or us so far,” she said.
Wang added that the lack of government coordination has made distributing donated goods difficult and inefficient.
As for the donations that do make it to government hands, “Village heads or party secretaries of some villages that are not flooded have distributed the supplies in private or had taken them home,” Wang said. “They even sell what they can spare for money.”
The Chinese-language Epoch Times called the emergency number of Weihui City multiple times on Tuesday, but there was no answer.
Yi Ru and Lin Cenxin contributed to the report.