Severe Flooding in China Causes Deaths, Eyewitnesses Say

June 27, 2010 10:20 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 7:45 pm

Chinese villagers leave their flooded homes in Fuzhou, east China's Jiangxi province on June 23, 2010. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese villagers leave their flooded homes in Fuzhou, east China's Jiangxi province on June 23, 2010. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Record torrential rains resulted in two massive breaches in the Changkai dike in Fuzhou City in China’s southeast province of Jiangxi last week. While authorities have claimed no one has died in the floods, local residents told The Epoch Times that the floods collapsed a number of houses, and many people had drowned.

Deputy secretary of Fuzhou City, Wu Fusheng, said at a press conference on June 25 that “no deaths” had occurred in the dike-related flooding.

A local resident of Luohu township told The Epoch Times, “The river was about 20–30 kilometers [12–18 miles] from my place, [at] its widest point. It was filled with dead pigs and chickens. Many people also died in it, in spite of being able to swim. Even the people from the villages could see the breach from afar.

“More than 400 meters [1,300 feet] have collapsed [of the Changkai dike]—that’s quite a length. So many people have died! It was really terrifying,” said the local resident.

The Fu River flooded its banks when the dike broke on June 21. A second breach occurred on the morning of June 23. The floods have forced 100,000 local residents to flee their homes.

“The government is afraid to report that the flood collapsed four-story buildings and drowned so many people,” the resident added.

The massive breaches in the dike have caused flooding across five towns and 40 villages, creating many isolated islands. The breaches have not been repaired as rain continues unabated and water levels remain high.

A resident of Changkai Township, Ms. Tu, anxiously recounted running away from the flood. She said her legs were shaking, but she was afraid to hesitate for even a second, with the floodwaters literally at her heels.

She related that in the early evening on June 21, she and her husband were observing the river from the third floor of their home, when suddenly they saw water surging over the dike. The breach occurred immediately afterward, and within about 10 seconds, the gap in the dike increased to about 30 feet.

When The Epoch Times phoned the headquarters of the Fuzhou Flood Control Department, a male employee answered. When the reporter inquired about the flood deaths, the employee replied, “No one has died. Where did you hear that? Since you’ve heard it, don’t ask again.”

A manager of the Fuzhou City Bureau of Water Resource Management told Century Weekly that “within the past 10 years or so, [they] have pleaded with the government for funds to fix the dike. To meet standards, the dike’s height and width must be increased, which could cost up to 300 or 400 million yuan [US$44 million to US$59 million]. The water management department is aware of the dike’s flaws.”

No Forewarning

Victims living in villages far away from the river blame local authorities for not issuing flood warnings.

“Two hours before the flood, my father called to tell me that the Changkai dike was going to collapse, and that the family was moving their possessions to the second floor. I asked my father where he heard that, and whether the government had given any advance notice," said a local resident of Luozhen Township in Fuzhou City.

“My father replied that the government had not issued any warning and that a teacher had told him. I told my father not to worry, and just follow the directions of the government.

“Fortunately, my father did not take my advice. The flood happened two hours later, and many people could not leave in time. If one waited for the government’s directions at the time, it would have been as good as waiting for one’s death.”

Some villagers claimed that the dike had never been officially patrolled, and only intermittently did village cadres ride by on motorcycles, taking a quick glance before moving on.

Read the original Chinese article