Tibetan-populated counties in northwestern China’s Qinghai and Gansu provinces were struck by hailstorms and torrential rain this week, with houses, cars, and livestock swept away by massive floods, sources said.
Damage was especially severe in Qinghai’s Themchen (in Chinese, Tianjun) county when a fast-breaking storm on Aug. 19 wrecked a nomad village in Yangkan township, a source living in the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
One family lost everything, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“They lost their house and cars, and they have no animals left with which to earn their living,” the source said.
Two days later, nomad herders from Thekphang township’s Dadul and Luwang villages were caught on the open grassland with their animals in a heavy storm, the source said.
“They were stranded in a valley and could not return to their homes, but rescue teams brought them back by boat on Aug. 22,” he said.
“A day earlier, on Aug. 21, there was a sudden downpour, and hail the size of eggs smashed the windshields of many cars and the roofs of several houses,” the source said. “The storm lasted for only seven seconds, but the damage was extensive."
Monks lend a hand
On Aug. 22, heavy rain also fell near Gansu’s Labrang monastery, with the lower part of Sangchu (Xiahe) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture severely affected by floods, the source said.
“Traffic on the road from Sangkok town to Labrang was stranded for two hours due to flooding and landslides,” the source said, adding, “County officials sent rescue teams and relief to residents in the area, and the monks of Labrang monastery also volunteered their help.”
“Guest houses around the monastery were opened free to those affected by the flooding,” he said.
Major flooding in Qinghai’s regional capital Xining that same day also swept away large numbers of cars, a second local source told RFA.
“The force of the flood washed them away to low-lying ground, and later, when more floods came through, they were all washed away again,” he said.
Some parts of Luchu (Luqu) county in Gansu’s Kanlho prefecture were also damaged in the floods, he added.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin and Lobe Socktsang for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.