Authorities say risks of flooding continue to remain high
A bullet train travels over a flooded village in Qingyuan, Guangdong province, on Tuesday. (WU MING / NANFANG DAILY)
The torrential rains in Guangdong province are forecast to fade starting on Thursday, though the floodwaters they brought will linger for days, keeping emergency responses at high levels, according to provincial meteorological and hydrology authorities.
The water level in the Pearl River basin will continue to rise and remain high for quite a long time, and the situation regarding flooding and other disasters is extremely severe and complex in flood-hit areas, the Guangdong Provincial Department of Water Resources said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Pearl River's flood control headquarters raised its emergency response to the highest level as the river's water level rose to warning lines on Tuesday night, requiring suspension of classes, work production or traffic if necessary in the hard-hit regions to protect public safety.
Flooding along the Pearl River has been worsened by lasting torrential rains in neighboring Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, and also the unusually heavy rainfall in the northern part of Guangdong province since June 17, said Wu Zhifang, chief forecaster of the provincial meteorological center.
Persistent heavy rains have continued to batter the province, swelling rivers, triggering landslides and prompting the evacuation of residents in the past week, with the cities of Shaoguan and Qingyuan along the Beijiang River hit the hardest.
Many rural houses were reported to have collapsed and bridges destroyed or damaged, while streets and farmland were flooded, causing widespread economic losses.
Firefighters transfer a child trapped by flooding in Yingde.jpg
More than 500,000 residents in the province have been affected, authorities said, but no casualties have been reported so far.
Qin Xi, 50, a villager in Yingde city, under the administration of Qingyuan, said this year's flooding is the most serious he has ever seen.
"Most of the houses and farmland in my village have been flooded this year," he said, adding his family was also evacuated.
Statistics show that the water level of the Beijiang River, a major tributary of the Pearl River, in Yingde was the highest since 1951.
In Shaoguan's Zhenjiang district, a woman gave birth to a son after she was carried by four firefighters on a stretcher and walked more than one kilometer on flooded roads to an ambulance that took her to hospital on Tuesday.
Li Xi, Party secretary of Guangdong province, and Wang Weizhong, governor of Guangdong, have also led working groups to Shaoguan and Qingyuan respectively and asked relevant departments to put people's lives first.
Water resources departments across the province had sent more than 6,500 working teams as of Wednesday. "They have, so far, patrolled and inspected 15,000 large and medium-sized reservoirs and 57,000 sections of river dikes to help remove hidden dangers," said the statement from the province's water resources department.
Hou Liqiang in Beijing contributed to this story.