0 Tragedy Strikes China

Πέμπτη, 19 Αυγούστου 2010

Tragedy Strikes China
The country experiences its worst flooding in a decade
BY JARED T. MILLER


Rescue workers in northwestern China continue to search for survivors after massive landslides swept through the region on August 8. Heavy rains and flash flooding from the weekend triggered muddy landslides that engulfed villages and roads. More than 1,100 people have been killed in the disaster, and at least 627 people are still missing, local officials say. About 45,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes.
China has been devastated by flooding recently. Floodwaters have killed more than 2,000 people across the country in the past month and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. More heavy rain and landslides are expected to hit the region this week, according to China's National Meteorological Center.

Rainy Season
The northwestern parts of the country have been hit particularly hard by the flooding. In rural areas in the Gansu province, drenching storms caused the Bailong River to overflow. The landslides that resulted turned the streets of nearby towns to mud, overturned cars and caused houses to collapse.

Record-setting rain in China, some of the worst in decades, is the most direct cause for the flooding. Officials say effects of the massive 2008 Sichuan earthquake is contributing to heavy flooding this year as well; the quake weakened the stability of hillsides and soil in the region. Increased construction in China could also be making the land weaker.

Welcome Relief
Relief efforts are currently underway in the Gansu province. About 30,000 tents have already been delivered to the Zhouqu district, which was affected most by the flooding. Additional tents, food and clean drinking water are on the way.

Local military authorities sent 2,400 soldiers to Gansu this weekend. More than 1,000 firefighters and militia members were being sent to help as well, according to the Xinhua news agency. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in a neighboring province over the weekend and plans to oversee rescue efforts.

Wednesday marked the first day roads reopened, allowing heavy machinery, used in relief efforts, to get into the towns. Previously, workers had been using shovels, picks and buckets to remove debris and to search for survivors. Rescue teams got a boost of hope when they found a 50-year-old survivor four days after the disaster struck. The man had been trapped in knee-deep mud on the second floor of a hotel, Xinhua reported.

The Chinese government has ordered relief teams to continue rescue efforts. "It is now a critical time," read a statement issued by the ruling party's Politburo Standing Committee. "We must give the highest prominence to the protection of people's lives and properties."

SOURCE : timeforkids

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