Heavy downpours continued to wreak havoc across vast stretches of China on Wednesday as the country renewed its alert for rainstorms and multiple provincial-regions enhanced flood responses.
China’s national observatory on Wednesday renewed its orange alert, the second-highest, for rainstorms, while the downpour is forecast to continue from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning, in large parts of southern China, according to the National Meteorological Center (NMC).
Statistics from China Meteorological Administration Tuesday showed that the accumulated precipitation since June 1 in east China’s Anhui and Zhejiang provinces, central China’s Hubei Province, and southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, is the highest compared with that of the same period since 1961, with the average precipitation in Anhui and Hubei exceeding 500 mm.
Flooding follows coronavirus disaster in China’s ‘cursed’ city of Wuhan
At least 121 people are dead or missing from widespread flooding, according to Chinese government official media, with the original coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan one of the county’s hardest-hit cities.
The city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province had its emergency flood alert level raised to its second-highest grade on Monday, as the Yangtze River continues to swell.
Large swathes of the world’s most populous country have been battered by torrential rain for more than a month.
An estimated 20 million people in provinces along the river Yangtze River are affected by the ongoing flooding.
On social media, some are asking whether Wuhan has become a ‘cursed’ city.
China’s state news agency Xinhua is reporting that torrential rain has been pounding the city since Sunday, with the maximum rainfall exceeding 250mm over a single 24 hour period.
Images on social media show streets under water across large parts of China, and gigalitres of water being released from dams to save property upstream from the country’s rambling network of rivers.
500 Hubei gaokao candidates trapped in floods sent to exam rooms by forklift
Around 500 senior high school students sitting for the college entrance examination, or gaokao, were trapped in floods triggered by torrential rains in Huangmei county, Central China’s Hubei Province, on Wednesday, prompting local authorities to use a forklift truck to bring them to safety.
According to the Huangmei public security bureau, 500 students living at Huaning Senior High School became trapped by the flood at 7 am, and water 1.6 meters deep blocked their way to the gaokao examination site on the second day of the exam.
Local police dispatched a large forklift truck to transfer them, and as of press time, 300 of the trapped students had managed to get to the examination site. Local police estimated it would take another half an hour to move the remaining students to safety.
On Tuesday, the first day of gaokao, several cities in Hubei including Wuhan, Huangshi and Jingzhou witnessed heavy rain. This year, around 400,000 Hubei candidates are sitting in gaokao.
Landslide in China’s Hubei buries nine after heaviest rain in years
Rescuers in central China were searching Wednesday for nine people left missing in a landslide triggered amid widespread flooding across much of the country.
The disaster struck Huangmei county in Hubei province at around 4 a.m., according to rescue services. Another 40 people were rescued and moved to shelter, they said.
Nearly 30,000 people were evacuated in Hubei’s Huanggang city after water started seeping from a reservoir, prompting emergency workers to shore up the structure and dig a channel to release the overflow.
The flooding has forced the rescheduling of portions of the crucial four-day national college entrance exams for some students. The test had already been delayed for a month because of the coronavirus outbreak.
New York Times
Heavy Rain Affects Over 420,000 In East China’s Anhui
Heavy rain has affected over 420,000 people in east China’s Anhui Province, as local authorities launched the level II emergency response, the second-highest, for flood prevention Tuesday.
The downpour that started July 2 has affected seven cities and 31 county-level administrations in the province, leading to the evacuation of 27,000 people and a direct economic loss of 510 million Yuan (72 million U.S. Dollars) as of Monday, local emergency management department said.
The rain has also affected 31,700 hectares of crops and damaged 617 houses.
The province raised its emergency response for flood prevention from level III to level II starting 12:00 p.m. Tuesday as the waters of multiple rivers exceeded warning levels, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.
East China’s Jiangsu Province on flood alert
East China’s Jiangsu Province has geared up for possible flooding amid widespread seasonal rainfall, with local flood control departments on standby round the clock to respond quickly to emergencies.
The province has sent 13 working teams to various local cities to inspect the flood control and relief efforts after the provincial department of water resources issued a blue alert for flooding on the Jiangsu section of the Yangtze River on July 5.
Affected by flooding in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and recent heavy rainfall, the water levels of some major rivers and lakes in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, have exceeded the warning level, according to Li Zongchao with the Nanjing flood control and drought relief headquarters.
The middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River are forecast to be lashed by rainstorms, with precipitation expected to be between 100 mm and 200 mm.
Dam in China’s Hangzhou opens all 9 floodgates for first time in history
With torrential rain and massive flooding ravaging much of southern China, the Xin’anjiang Dam on Wednesday (July 8) opened all nine of its floodgates, causing 12 villages downstream to be inundated, impacting over 300,000 people.
On Tuesday, as water levels rose at an alarming rate due to incessant rain, authorities opened three floodgates on the dam, for the the first time since 2011. On Wednesday morning, the water level in the dam’s reservoir, commonly known as Qiandao Lake, reached a record 108.45 meters, 0.08 meters higher than the previous record of 108.37 set in 1999, reported the Global Times.
In order to lower the water levels further, dam operators at 9 a.m. announced they had opened all nine floodgates for the first time since it was built in 1959. By the afternoon, floodwater discharge from the dam had reached 7,800 cubic meters per second, far exceeding official expectations.
Such was the power of the massive wall of water, that bighead carp could be seen flying in the air, according to local Chinese media reports. Many villagers downstream captured the “flying fish” and posted on social media, with some weighing up to 15 kilograms.
Is China deliberately flooding Wuhan to flush out evidence?
Wuhan – the original epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in China is now facing another calamity in the form of floods.
On January 23 2020, the city was overwhelmed by an explosion of COVID-19 cases, after which an unprecedented lockdown was imposed on the city’s 11 million residents.
As of now, eight people have lost their lives to the floods. The fury of the calamity hasn’t spared the supermarkets, shops, and the streets. Rainstorm warnings have been issued for the next 31 days. And people of Wuhan have been asked to stay in again.
However, is the flooding natural? Reports suggest that the floods are a direct consequence of a heavy discharge of water from reservoirs.
368 kilometres away from Wuhan lies the Three Gorges Dam in the district of Yiling, which has been releasing floodwaters from its spillways.
According to Chinese authorities, the dam is on the verge of collapse, mandating the release of water. Chinese activists are now claiming that the opening of spillways is intentional.
Jennifer Zeng, an activist recently claimed that this move was undertaken intentionally, and that Chinese authorities are deliberately flooding cities in the Hubei province to purge out the evidence against China and its role in the coronavirus pandemic.
A World Health Organization team is scheduled to visit China next week to investigate the origins of the virus, and will probe how the zoonotic virus jumped from animals to humans.