Heavy downpours in June have led to serious flooding in at least eleven provinces of China.
Residents in two cities told The Epoch Times that local authorities discharged the rainwater that accumulated in reservoirs without alerting people in advance, causing dozens of people to get swept away.
Many also lost their homes due to the flooding, but state-run media barely covered the news, while local media ran a few articles that mainly glorified the authorities’ rescue efforts.
Chen Yang (pseudonym), a villager who lives at Liangjiang road in Shuangjiang town, Lipu city in southern China’s Guangxi region, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times more details about the recent flooding.
“We were seeing that our fellow villagers were washed away by the floodwater, but we couldn’t help. We hadn’t found their bodies yet because the floodwater is still deep,” he said in a phone interview on June 11.
“The elderly villagers had never seen this kind of heavy flooding in their lifetime,” Chen added.
Chen’s village has roughly 2,000 to 3,000 residents, with many of them living in houses made of mud and straw. Chen said local people are poor, and thus, don’t have money to buy bricks and cement to build their houses.
“When the flood entered our village, the water reached two to three meters (6.56–9.84 feet) high. The first floor of all buildings in our village were submerged in floodwater at that time,” Chen said. “90 percent of the mud houses collapsed after being soaked in the floodwater. We don’t dare to enter the not yet collapsed ones,” he added.
Hong Chen (pseudonym) operates a bed-and-breakfast in Yangshuo city, which is about 25 miles away from Chen Yang’s home.
She told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on June 10 that rain started falling on June 6. Now, the county-level cities of Yangshuo, Yongfu, and Pingle, in Guilin municipality, are completely flooded.
“The whole Yangshuo downtown is flooded… During the worst period, some houses’ second floor was also submerged under water… People had to sleep on the third or higher floors,” Hong said.
The city’s water supply and electricity were cut off, with some areas not yet restored with service, she added.
Hong said some mud houses in the downtown area also collapsed.
She explained why the flooding was made worse by authorities’ actions.
“Heavy rain caused the water level of the Li River to be very high. 6 p.m. yesterday [June 9], authorities didn’t alert us and discharged the water of a large reservoir upstream of the Li River,” she said.
A small reservoir close to Yangshuo city could not contain the water, and the local dam broke. “The water has washed away our city,” Hong said.
A store owner at a local sightseeing site in Yangshuo also relayed the same information. He said that the water level of the Li River is still high.
Chen, from Lipu city, said the flooding in his hometown was also caused by the reservoir’s discharging.
Lipu city is named after the Lipu River that traverses the city. Chen’s hometown is located between two tributaries of the Lipu River, one is Maling River. There are several reservoirs upstream of the Maling River, including the Dajiang Reservoir.
“The regime discharged the Dajiang Reservoir without notification. Then, the dam of a small reservoir broke,” Chen said. “Within several minutes, the water entered our village. We didn’t have any time to prepare.”
Chen said the waters washed away three towns downstream of the river: Huaze, Shuangjiang, and Maling.
“Everything is gone,” Chen said. The flood submerged crop fields and ruined the villagers’ harvest, Chen added. Others lost their household items.
After the flooding, local authorities promised to distribute relief. However, residents said not much has materialized.
“We heard that in other townships, some bread was distributed. But for a three-member family, [authorities] only gave them one bread. It’s almost nothing,” Chen said.
At a nearby village, authorities distributed a bottle of cooking oil, bag of rice, and box of congee-in-a-can to each family. But Chen said authorities soon collected back the items from families that did not use the goods. A villager who ate the congee was asked to pay for it.
“Some villagers did not qualify for the aid, as government officials said their houses did not collapse,” Chen said.
On June 11, several Taiwanese media reported that at least 19 people died in the recent flooding that occurred in 11 Chinese provinces. According to their estimates, 230,000 people lost their houses, and 2.62 million people lost their property or were injured.
However, China’s state-run media has kept mum throughout this time.
On the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece newspaper People’s Daily, there has been no related coverage.
On state-run media Xinhua, there’s only one brief report related to the flood on its front page. This report focused on how authorities helped people.
On state-run broadcaster CCTV’s website, there are only two news articles related. One reported that the water levels of 148 rivers were higher than the alarm level designated by authorities. The other article reported that authorities helped people who lost their homes during the flooding in Huizhou city, Guangdong Province.
On Weibo, a Twitter-like platform, the flooding has not been widely discussed. The trending topics included U.S. riots and gossip news about the girlfriend of a Chinese movie actor.