Who is causing more human disasters after Typhoon Rumbia sweeps across Shandong province?

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An article on Sina News entitled “Is the devastation by floods in Shouguang city natural calamities or a man-made disaster?” was deleted soon after its publicity and the Chinese government has ordered to take down all news reports on the catastrophe.

A middle-aged lady was arrested by police when she posted a tweet on her Wechat account warning relatives and friends of eating less pig meat because of possible contamination. 

From August 17 t0 21, Typhoon Rumbia swept across Shandong province; and according to local government data, 626 towns in 81 counties or 13 cities have been affected, causing 24 deaths, 3 missing and over 5.18 million people either losing their homes or heavily affected. Over 616.3 thousand hectares of farmland in Shouguang were destroyed, a direct economic loss of RMB 21.513 billion. The local government offers 50 million yuan in relief and another 6 million in emergency support.

People on social media are warned again to keep silent when complaining about little effort done by the government, compared to huge sums of donation to African countries on the Belt and Road Initiative.

According to government-run media news, local authorities issued an emergency notice on the night of 19th after two days of heavy rain that filled four reservoirs in Shouguang city. The release of water from Yeyuan and Heihushan reservoirs amounted to 200 cubic meters per second, Songshan reservoir 50 cubic meters and Jingshan reservoir 30. Local residents only had 10 minutes to half an hour to pack and leave their homes.

The city in Shandong province is known as China’s biggest producer of vegetables – some 4.5 million tons of fruit and vegetables are grown there every year. It is also home to the country’s biggest vegetable wholesale market. And local residents raise lots of pigs.

While the authorities restricted reports on the flooding and described it as a natural disaster, local residents have accused the government of allowing water to be simultaneously released from all big reservoirs in the region.

Local TV news reported that 9,999 houses collapsed and 200,000 greenhouses damaged. Viewers would not believe but laughed: “how could they have made up these numbers to report to their superior, trying to avoid punishment?”

In the Weifang area, including Shouguang, the typhoon brought 174.7mm of rain – 3.2 times the level forecast by the weather bureau. Upstream of the Mi River, some 241.6mm of rain has fallen – 3.9 times the amount forecast, the Weifang weather bureau said.

According to historical records (800 cubic meters per second in 2012), no heavy rains have caused such widespread devastation as this Typhoon storm Rumbia.

These reservoirs were built local residents with order from the government but the power stations built there are managed by private companies of the power groups. According to local residents, at time of drought, those companies won’t easily release water for irrigation, and farmers have to buy water from them. Most of the time, they would keep the reservoirs to a level of fullness to ensure power generation. That’s why two days of rain would fill all the reservoirs and pose risks to many.

To defend their emergency notice of water release, Weifang Flood Control and Drought Relief Command Office made this remark, “If we hadn’t discharged the water, it would have posed a serious threat to the safety of the reservoirs, and would even have increased the possibility of the dams collapsing; it would have threatened the lives of millions of residents living in the downstream areas of the river.”

We have to agree that is the fact. And they are truly telling the fact. But a fuller picture of the story lies in the system that cares little about the livelihood of the ordinary citizens. And this is not an isolated case.

The floods have been subdued five days after the typhoon, and people are returning to their homes. But where are their homes?

Followcn Editor

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