China Response To Disastrous Flood Season

20 Jul 2020 by OOSKAnews Correspondent

China President Xi Jinping has urged local governments and communist party members to take responsibility in flood-triggered disaster prevention and relief work as large parts of China struggle with disastrous seasonal flooding. Xi made the remarks during a 17 July meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the party Central Committee.

Since June, a total of 433 rivers, as well as major lakes like Dongting, Poyang and Taihu, have risen beyond warning levels, while as many as 33 rivers have risen to their highest levels in history, according to a 13 July report from the country’s Ministry of Water Resources (MWR). The Ministry said the current trends remain grim on the Yangtze River and Taihu Lake basins, and the belt of heavy rain that has lashed central China would eventually head north.

The Yangtze’s drainage basin is home to around 400 million people, or one-third of China's population. In a 10 July government briefing, authorities estimated that 28,000 homes had been destroyed and about 38 million people had been affected by the flooding and resultant landslides. 

About 1.8 Million people have been evacuated, and 141 people are dead or missing, with economic losses at around $8.57 Billion USD.

Authorities destroyed a dam on the Chu River, a tributary of the Yangtze, 19 July to release and channel water.

The worst-hit provinces so far are Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan in central china, Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu in the country's east, and the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing.

It is believed that the flood threat has increased in recent decades due in part to widespread construction of dams and levees that have cut connections between the river and adjacent lakes and floodplains during the summer surge. In addition, conservationists have also warned that the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers due to climate change may lead to more dangerous summer flooding.

In the briefing, Ye Jianchun, vice minister of water resources, said: "Going into the key flood-prevention period of late July to early August, the current trends remain grim on the Yangtze and the Lake Tai basins".