Chinese furious at flood response
- Published: 23 Jul 2012 at 20.06
- Online news:
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 another seven still missing.
By Monday morning, nearly nine million users of China's popular Sina Weibo microblog had expressed anger over insufficient official warnings, and at the way the city's outdated drains failed to cope."If the drainage system had been good, if the warning system had been put in place in a timely manner, if people had been told to stay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?" posted one, named Bijiexiang.At least 25 people drowned in Saturday's rains, the heaviest in the city 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 15 people dead and 19 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 and a waterway around the former city wall that empties...
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