South China Rains Burst Levee, Victims Stranded

June 23, 2010 11:24 pm Last Updated: June 26, 2010 4:22 pm

[ Video Courtesy of NTDTV ]

More than 240,000 residents were affected when a levee on the Fu River burst Monday evening in southeast China’s Jiangxi Province. Thousands of flood victims wait to be evacuated.

Floodwaters breached the Changkai levee on the Fu River in southeast China's Jiangxi Province at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 21.  (The Epoch Times)
Floodwaters breached the Changkai levee on the Fu River in southeast China's Jiangxi Province at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 21. (The Epoch Times)
The Fu River burst through the Changkai levee near the city of Fuzhou at 6:30 p.m. on June 21, after more than a week of heavy rains and floods ravaged provinces to the south of the Yangtze River.

People trapped by the flood wait for rescue. (The Epoch Times)
People trapped by the flood wait for rescue. (The Epoch Times)
The opening in the 82-kilometer-long (51-mile-long) dike had expanded to about 500 meters (0.3 mile) at around 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Nearly 100,000 residents living in Fuzhou’s flooded Changkai Township were forced to flee. The flooding has affected at least 140,000 residents in the towns surrounding Fuzhou.

A boy trapped in the flooded area. (The Epoch Times)
A boy trapped in the flooded area. (The Epoch Times)
Reuters reported that China News Service stated that by late Tuesday, troops and officials had moved 93,000 people to safer areas, while other residents remained trapped by water and were waiting to be rescued.

According to a report by Shanghai Daily, Fuzhou authorities have set up 17 shelters in stadiums and local schools for flood victims. Provincial authorities have mobilized more than 10,000 soldiers and civilians for rescue and relief work.

Many villages were cut off by the flooding, which also disrupted traffic and telecommunications. As of Tuesday afternoon, many residents were still waiting to be evacuated.

A Changkai villager, Mr. Feng, said that over 10 people from his family had been trapped in a half-flooded house since yesterday. They were impatient to be rescued.

Asked if authorities had sent rescue workers and boats to the flooded region as previously reported by Chinese media, he said: “I didn’t see anyone come to help us. Now we have nothing to eat or drink. Thousands of residents in the town are trapped here. Please come to our rescue.”

A Changkai woman told The Epoch Times that 13 stranded people from her family were still waiting for a rescue boat. Asked when her family could expect to be rescued, she replied, “We don’t know yet, because there have been too many people in the flooded town waiting to be rescued.”

Heavy rains have swept through 10 provincial areas since June 13: Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan, and Guizhou, comprising nearly 2.38 million people who require evacuation aid, according to People’s Daily.

State-run media Xinhua News Agency also reported that as of June 22, the devastating floods this year have resulted in 364 deaths and 147 missing persons nationwide.

More than 59.43 million have been adversely affected by the flooding, and an estimated 339,000 houses have collapsed. Total economic losses could reach 66.5 billion yuan (US$9.76 billion), with 3.72 million hectares of farmland flooded. It was also reported that the overall losses were about two times greater than during the same time period last year.

In late-breaking news from Reuters on Wednesday morning, Xinhua reported that the Changkai dike had suffered a new, second breech.

Read the original Chinese article.