Rainstorms, Flooding Leave Parts of Southern China 'Devastated'

2017-07-03
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Flood damage is shown in Loudi city in central China's Hunan province, June 1, 2017.
Flood damage is shown in Loudi city in central China's Hunan province, June 1, 2017.
Photo sent by an RFA listener

Heavy rain and flooding in central and southern China left dozens dead or missing on Monday as hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes, official media and local residents reported.

In the southwestern region of Guangxi, 16 people were reported dead and 10 others missing after rainstorms triggered widespread flooding in the region, state news agency Xinhua reported. Some 90,000 people were evacuated in the region, it said.

In the central province of Hunan, five people died and four were still missing following a mudslide on Saturday, while the authorities moved in to evacuate more than 300,000 people with more than 6,000 homes destroyed by floods, Xinhua said.

A resident surnamed Luo of Qiaotouhe township near Hunan's Loudi city said his hometown has been left devastated by the storms.

"A few people were washed away in the floods," he said. "The waters were so fierce when they came pouring in; my son and the neighbors had to run like crazy. They didn't have time to save any belongings; they just ran."

"Out of a village of about 100 households, 25 homes have been destroyed," Luo said. "Those who have friends and family have gone to stay with them."

"There's no water or electricity here right now, so how we are supposed to eat I don't know," he said. "My elderly mother is nearly 80, and we have to go out to eat a bowl of noodles and buy some snacks to eat."

He said local rescue workers had handed out some bottles of water, but little else.

"I am at my wits' end," Luo said.

'Everything is under water'

In Hunan's provincial capital Changsha, where the Xiangjiang river engulfed parts of the city, swamping neighborhoods and uprooting trees, a resident surnamed Sun said the floods had mostly receded in the downtown area on Monday.

"There are still some places where it's still pretty severe," Sun said. "In some areas on the outskirts, the water was coming up from the drains rather than going down them."

"Everything is under water [in those places]; it's pretty deep."

Repeated calls to the Changsha municipal government offices rang unanswered during office hours on Monday.

Flood monitoring authorities said that water levels in more than 60 rivers in southern China were above danger levels on Monday, as the rains continued to batter the Yangtze river basin.

"The disaster wreaked havoc on the lives of 1.05 million people, inflicting direct economic losses worth nearly 2.9 billion yuan (U.S.$428 million)," Xinhua news agency said.

Reported by Wong Lok-to for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Shi Shan for the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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