Anger in Beijing as record rains kill at least 37

Beijing residents expressed fury on Monday after the worst rains to hit the Chinese capital in more than 60 years left at least 37 people dead, with at least another seven still missing.

Many said lives could have been saved and some of the worst devastation avoided if a better warning system had been in place, and criticised the city's antiquated water infrastructure.

"If the drainage system had been good, if the warning system had been put in place in a timely manner, if people had been told to stay home, would so many people have lost their cherished lives?" read one posting, under the name Bijiexiang.

By Monday morning, there were nearly nine million comments on the Sina Weibo microblog alone.

In the worst-hit district of Fangshan, on the mountainous southwestern outskirts of China's sprawling capital, residents described how roads flooded in minutes, submerging vehicles and destroying houses.

Fangshan farmer Wang Ping, 56, was still looking for his 30-year-old son on a lake shore after finding his smashed up car, and complained that the government was doing nothing to help.

"My son called around nine o'clock on Saturday evening and he said he was surrounded by water, so I went to search for him," Wang told AFP, in between shouting out his name.

"The government isn't doing anything to help me find my son."

In the nearby tourist village of Shidu, villagers were left to clear up the damage to their restaurants, guesthouses and shops after they were battered by trees swept down the overflowing Juma river.

"We never bought insurance, never expected a flood this big," Yang Xing, an 18-year-old student, told AFP as he cleared up broken glass at his grandparents' restaurant.

At least 25 people drowned in Saturday's rains, the heaviest in the capital since records began in 1951. Six died in housing collapses, five were electrocuted and one person was struck by lighting.

The same storm left another 17 people dead and 21 missing in the neighbouring province of Hebei, the China News Service said.

The rains and flooding caused 10 billion yuan-worth ($1.6 billion) of damage in Beijing, while nearly 66,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes, state media said, citing the city government.

"Chinese cities are apparently unpractised in facing disasters such as Saturday's torrential downpour," the Global Times daily said in a Monday editorial critical of the authorities' disaster preparedness.

"If so much chaos can be triggered in Beijing, the capital of the nation, problems in urban infrastructure of many other places can only be worse."

Pictures showed entire parking lots flooded, while rescue and traffic workers were seen diving underwater to unclog roadside drains as helpless drivers looked on from partially submerged cars.

Many roads in the capital were inundated by up to a metre (three feet) of water, while 500 outbound flights were cancelled and at least 80,000 passengers stranded.

Parts of the Beijing-Guangdong highway, a major arterial route to the south, remained flooded on Monday, the Beijing traffic bureau said.

Much of Beijing's central drainage system dates from imperial times, including the moat around the Forbidden City.

The rain lasted for about 16 hours on Saturday and up to 46 centimetres (around 18 inches) fell on the outlying mountainous district of Fangshan, the Xinhua news agency said.

Some state-run media focused on how the rains brought the city of more than 20 million people together, with police and traffic workers joining hands with ordinary citizens to rescue stranded motorists.

Xinhua reported that the rains had filled Beijing's 17 major reservoirs, many of which had lacked water due to a 13-year drought.

China's finance ministry has allocated 120 million yuan in relief funds to help Beijing, neighbouring Tianjin city and Hebei province handle the disaster.

Xinhua also said eight people were confirmed dead due to heavy downpours in Sichuan province, in the nation's southwest.

China is routinely ravaged by summertime flooding, which normally wreaks havoc in regions along the central Yangtze river and in the south, but floods are relatively rare in Beijing, which usually has a dry climate.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • 13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital
    13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital

    Thirteen of the 15 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen who survived the bloody firefight with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano last month are ready to go home after a month of medical treatment, a police official said yesterday. Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the two remaining survivors will have to stay in hospital for further treatment, one of whom has shrapnel embedded near his spine. One of the two SAF commando survivors is still …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options