Worst Flood in 50 Years Hits Huai River Region
The Huai River basin located in central China recently suffered the worst flooding in more than 50 years. The number of victims was estimated at more than 17 million people. The authorities have already opened sluice gates or breached dykes in seven districts in Anhui Province to divert the torrent, and evacuated 500,000 people living in the flood diversion districts.
Recent heavy rains have resulted in floods in the central and south regions of China. By July 12, these natural calamities have killed 360 people, affecting over 66 million people and resulting in economic losses exceeding 24 billion yuan (US$3 billion).
Recently, continuous, heavy rains in Henan, Anhui, and Jiangsu Provinces have caused the water level in the Huai River to go up dramatically. The authorities have already opened sluice gates or breached dykes in at least seven flood buffer zones including Wangjiaba, Jiangtang lake to divert the raging flood waters.
Currently more than 500,000 people have been mobilized to patrol the river embankments in Huai River basin in Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu Provinces. On July 11, the authorities declared Anhui Province to be at first level state of emergency, and there are people patrolling every section of the river embankment around the clock.
On July 12, water levels at the Xuyi section of the Huai River in Jiangsu Province, located downstream of the Huai River, reached 51 feet—5 feet over the warning level—and it is still rising. It was estimated that the peak of the flood waters from the Huai River reached Jiangsu Province around July 13 and 14.
Water levels of the Hongze Lake in Jiangsu Province have reached 42 feet, 1.5 feet over the warning level and it is still increasing.
The three provinces along the Huai River, Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu, have lost over 4.3 million acres of farmland and over 30 thousand houses as a result of the flood. The direct economic loss is almost US$1 billion.