Source: China State Council Information Office 2
China is stepping up disaster relief efforts as the country continues to see more floods and unusually heavy downpours this summer, officials said Monday.
Floods that triggered alerts have been observed in 433 rivers nationwide since June. Of these rivers, 33 beat previous water level records, Ye Jianchun, vice minister of Water Resources, told a press conference.
The number of rivers in spate has seen a dramatic rise from 271 that saw floods above warning levels by the end of June.
Zheng Guoguang, vice minister of Emergency Management, attributed the severe flooding to the extra rainfall in the season mostly in the southern parts of the country.
The average rainfall in regions along the Yangtze River this year has been the highest since 1961, 51 percent more than the amount in other years, according to Zheng.
Due to the disastrous flooding, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters raised the emergency response to Level II Sunday, following its last upgrade from Level IV to Level III Tuesday, with efforts at flood control, rescue and disaster relief.
As of 7 a.m. Monday, floods in 27 provincial regions had affected a population of 38.73 million, leaving 141 people dead or missing, and more than 2.24 million emergency relocations. Around 29,000 homes were destroyed, and direct economic losses reached 86.16 billion yuan (about 12.31 billion U.S. dollars).
Zheng noted that as China’s capability in flood control and disaster relief improves, despite the severity of the flooding, the loss of lives and property has significantly decreased compared to the same period in the past five years.
Ye warned that while waters levels are likely to remain high in the Yangtze River and Taihu Lake, as the rain belt is expected to move northward, areas along the Yellow River and the Haihe River should brace for possible floods.
Zheng said apart from further efforts at flood defense in the south, measures should be taken to guard against downpour-triggered disasters such as heavy floods and landslides, as well as possible typhoons, and high tides that could worsen the damage.