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Flood control authorities on alert in key period

Hou Liqiang
Updated: July 20, 2022 09:08    China Daily

National flood control authorities have warned of heavy flooding surrounding some major rivers as the country enters a usual period of crucial flood control that lasts from late July to early August.

Forecasts show that deluges may strike some major river basins in northern China at that time, said Li Guoying, minister of water resources, during a consultation conference for flood control on July 18.

Shandong province will be one of the worst-hit areas, with its water bodies in both basins of the Yellow and Huaihe rivers affected, he noted. Some water courses in the Songhua River basin in Heilongjiang province and Aksu River in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will also swell greatly.

Some watercourses across the country will see water rise above their warning levels, including in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River and the rivers of the Hanjiang, Chuhe and Lancang, he continued.

Li, also deputy commander-in-chief of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, demanded precautionary measures be rolled out to eliminate hazards that may result in casualties, lead to the failure of dams and dikes, and jeopardize key infrastructure.

Stressing the safeguarding of people's lives and property as the top priority, he asked for the ramping up of early warnings for mountain torrents and brief but heavy torrential rain events.

"Residents in risky areas should be evacuated in advance," he emphasized, adding that the work should be done as early and as quickly as possible and not a single person should be left behind.

According to a release from the ministry, in a move to prepare for possible deluges, it and the Ministry of Finance have allocated 468 million yuan ($66.8 million) to repair flood control facilities damaged by floods this year in 10 provincial regions.

After entering the rainy season in March, the country has seen downpours trigger extraordinary floods in the Pearl River basin and major deluges surrounding the Xiangjiang and Ganjiang rivers in the basin of the Yangtze River, the release said.

In a flood control conference also convened on July 18 by the office of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and his ministry, Minister of Emergency Management Huang Ming noted the grim flood control situation.

With the Liaohe and Weihe rivers already swollen, "a new round of torrential rain, which is expected to affect a vast stretch of area with fast moving speed and high intensity in some locations, is making the flood control situation complicated and grim", he said.

Huang, also deputy commander-in-chief of the headquarters, asked rescue workers to station themselves near risky areas in advance to ensure timely responses.

According to a release from the national emergency management authority, where the office of the headquarters is based, the headquarters had notified provincial flood control headquarters in 11 regions, as well as the headquarters for the Yangtze and Huaihe river basins, urging them to take necessary precautions for the coming downpours.