Chinese Villagers Plea for Help as Flooding Worsens, Authorities Let Rivers Breach Banks

July 14, 2020 Updated: July 14, 2020

Flooding caused by heavy rain has impacted at least 27 of 31 of China’s provinces and regions. On July 14, China’s National Meteorological Center alerted that more heavy rain is forecasted for the area of the Yangtze river basin in the next 24 hours.

The center estimated that the overall rainfall in southern China’s Yangtze river basin would be 100 millimeters (3.94 inches) to 180 millimeters (7.09 inches) from July 14 to 16. In some regions, the rainfall would reach 300 millimeters (11.81 inches).

The center also alerted that the northern Chinese regions of Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Beijing, Tianjin, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang would experience heavy rain on July 15 and 16.

Chinese vice minister of water resources Ye Jianchun said during a July 13 press conference in Beijing that the Yellow river, Hai river, and Songhua river in northern China would experience flooding in the coming months, but locals lack the experience to face this disaster.

“We should pay more attention to northern China,” Ye said.

Ye explained that the rainfall this summer in the Yangtze river basin and Tai Lake basin is 1.5 times to 2.6 times the rainfall in previous years, and that authorities will evacuate impacted people in advance.

However, people in the flooded provinces of Anhui, Hubei, and Jiangxi told The Epoch Times in phone interviews that their hometowns were submerged recently after authorities discharged floodwaters at the lakes or rivers or due to embankment breaches. However, authorities did not offer proper assistance, they said.

Discharging Floodwaters

Wang Min (pseudonym) lives in Yiguan village, located in eastern China’s Tongling city, Anhui Province. The Yangtze river passes through the village.

He told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on July 13 that he and his fellow villagers were forced to leave their hometown, located near a small dike, that day.

“They [authorities] gave up on the smaller dikes to protect the bigger ones,” Wang said. “Either by not strengthening the embankment to allow it to collapse naturally, or by manually breaking the bank, they allow the floodwaters from the Yangtze river to be released into the dikes,” he added.

That day, over 12,000 people left their homes in Tongling, Wang said. Most of them have nowhere to go and are now waiting out the flooding at temporary shelters.

Wang said the shelters lacked drinking water, mosquito coils to repel insects, raincoats, flashlights, and tents.

Authorities did not give the villagers enough food, Wang added. Many are worried that their property would be swept away by the floods.

The Yu’s live at the Hudong village in Poyang county, located in eastern China’s Jiangxi Province. Three generations of the family live under the same roof.

Hudong and dozens of other villages in the county were inundated by floodwaters on July 8 after several embankment breaches. Authorities claimed that they evacuated impacted people, but Yu’s family was still stuck in their house on July 12. Floodwaters had not yet receded.

“The flooding is everywhere. We can’t go out and we really need food,” the father told the Chinese-language Epoch Times.

The grandfather explained that in Hudong, floodwaters reached the second floor.

Mr. Zhang is from Dixi village, about 30 miles from Hudong. He and his fellow villagers were in the same situation as the Yu’s.

“Many people lost their houses in my village,” Zhang said. “The floodwaters are still increasing… authorities are discharging floodwaters from the Poyang lake,” he added.

Wuhan

A peak of floodwater reached Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei Province, at 11 p.m. on July 12, according to the city government.

Moreover, a resident at Gangzhou village in the city’s Caidian district shared a video with the Chinese-language Epoch Times on July 14, in which he said that all villagers were forced to evacuate at 5 a.m. that day because authorities would release floodwaters from the Yangtze river into his village.

Chen Guiya, deputy chief engineer at the Yangtze river water resources commission of the country’s water resources ministry, said during a segment on state-run broadcaster CCTV on July 13 that the Yangtze river could reach dangerous water levels in Hubei in the next 10 days.

The Wuhan-government-operated news site Changjiang Net reported on July 14 that flooding in the Yangtze river would cause a duplex peak, which means a new peak will arrive before the old peak passes.

Dr. Huang Guanhong, son of famous hydrologist Huang Wanli, told The Epoch Times’ sister TV media NTD on July 12: “If the Three Gorges Dam doesn’t release its waters, Chongqing city [on the upper stream] will be submerged. If the dam discharges water, Wuhan [on the downstream] would be inundated. The latter is the current situation.”

Not only Wuhan, but other cities downstream of the Three Gorges Dam are also suffering. Nanjing in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province reported that the local water level of the Yangtze river was 4.4 feet above the alert level.

Warning From WHO

Worried about the potential spread of contagious diseases after the flood, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning on its official account on Weibo—one of China’s largest social media platforms—on July 14.

The WHO urged flooding victims to drink boiled or chlorinated water. Also, they should not eat food that they found in floodwaters, nor any food items that had contact with floodwaters. It also advised against using clothes or other materials that had contact with floodwaters but have not been washed with bleach.