President Xi calls for all-out search and rescue efforts to save flood victims

Due to Typhoon Doksuri, flooding and geological disasters were triggered and inflicted major casualties in areas such as Beijing and Hebei province.

Hou Liqiang and Zhang Yunbi

Hou Liqiang and Zhang Yunbi

China Daily


Rescue workers in a boat paddle down a flooded Beijing street on Tuesday. Days of heavy rain, triggered by Typhoon Doksuri, have caused extensive damage in the capital and its surrounding regions. PHOTO: REUTERS/CHINA DAILY

August 2, 2023

BEIJING – President Xi Jinping issued an instruction on flood prevention and disaster relief work on Tuesday, ordering all-out search and rescue efforts to save those missing or trapped in floods and geological disasters caused by Typhoon Doksuri.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, also called for efforts to minimize casualties.

Due to Typhoon Doksuri, which caused extreme precipitation in northern China and areas along the Yellow and Huaihe rivers and other places, flooding and geological disasters were triggered and inflicted major casualties in areas such as Beijing and Hebei province.

He asked all areas to make every effort to search for and rescue missing or trapped people, ensure proper treatment of those injured and provide comfort to the families of the victims.

The affected individuals should be properly resettled, and damaged infrastructure such as for transportation, communication and electricity should be repaired as soon as possible in order to restore regular production and daily life, he said.

Xi emphasized that the nation is currently undergoing a critical period in flood control.

The president asked the authorities to reinforce monitoring, forecasting and early warning, enhance inspection duty, focus on critical parts and places for flood control, fully carry out flood control measures with precision, and make every effort to protect lives and property and secure social stability.

The instruction came as what is left of Typhoon Doksuri continued to dump rain on many parts of northern China on Tuesday, though the rain has been decreasing in its intensity.

Villagers evacuated from Beijing’s Changping district have lunch on Tuesday at temporary accommodations in the city’s Shougang Industrial Park. WU XIAOHUI/CHINA DAILY

Continuous downpours have lashed Beijing since Saturday, leaving at least 11 dead and 13 missing, according to local flood control headquarters.

Six of the deceased are from the mountainous Mentougou and Fangshan districts, the worst-affected areas in Beijing, the headquarters said.

As of 6 am on Tuesday, Beijing recorded average precipitation of 257.9 millimeters. Mentougou and Fangshan received precipitation of about 470 mm and 415 mm, respectively, it said.

The average annual precipitation in the capital, however, is only about 600 mm.

To date, around 127,000 residents across the city have been relocated due to the rainfall, the headquarters said.

The lingering rainfall forced Beijing authorities to put a flood detention reservoir into operation on Monday. It is the first time that the Zhaitang reservoir has been used to detain floodwater since it was constructed for the purpose in 1998.

Torrential rains have also battered North China’s Hebei province since Saturday, leaving nine dead and six missing, local authorities said.

Flood control authorities in Hebei and Tianjin have also resorted to rarely used flood detention areas to cope with the deluge.

On Tuesday, five flood detention areas in the Haihe River basin were put into use, amid the constant and accelerated influx of rainwater into water bodies in the basin, according to the Haihe River Water Conservancy Commission.

The flooding was so severe in Tianjin, where the trunk of the Haihe is located, that local authorities upgraded the emergency response for flood control from Level III to Level I, the highest in the country’s four-tier emergency response mechanism, at 1 am on Tuesday.

Hebei has lifted the sluice gates of the Langouwa flood detention area, in a move to relieve flood control pressures in its downstream areas along the Daqing River.

According to the National Meteorological Center, Lincheng county in Hebei received the largest cumulative precipitation of 994.6 mm among all areas affected by the rainfall, which started on Saturday.

The use of Langouwa, which has an area of 228 square kilometers and a capacity to store 323 million cubic meters of water, will help mitigate the impact of flooding in the Xiong’an New Area, the Ministry of Water Resources said in a media release on Tuesday.

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