EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

Flood control a tough task

Writer: Winton Dong  |  Editor: Jane Chen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2020-07-06

With focus on the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tough road to recover the domestic economy, Chinese media and even the whole society has been paying less or even little attention to the country's serious flood situation.

Actually, rainstorms have battered large parts of China since late May this year. According to the latest news released by the National Meteorological Center, it has issued warnings for torrential rains for more than 30 consecutive days.

Figures given by the center also show that heavy downpours have already caused tens of billions of yuan in economic losses nationwide over the past weeks.

Because of the serious flood control situation, some provinces in Southern and Eastern China have initiated emergency responses. Downpours have also brought water currents to exceed danger levels.

For example, water levels of some key rivers in Chong-qing Municipality have even surpassed the highest danger marks recorded in 1998, the year when a catastrophic flood happened in China and led to the death of 4,150 people. Several cities in Hubei Province such as Wuhan and Huanggang, which were hit the hardest in the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak at the beginning of this year, are now also suffering from their own flood havoc and excessive water discharged from the Three Gorges Dam.

Some of China's poorest regions such as Guizhou, Yunnan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province are included in the list that are severely hurt by this year's flooding. If timely measures and assistance programs are not put in place by governments at various levels, the floods will surely affect impoverished farmers and impact China's target to achieve poverty alleviation and eradicate absolute poverty by the end of this year.

The flood control situation in China is really tough now. Although it is an abnormal phenomenon that requires important work, the domestic media has paid little attention. Some netizens even comment on the country's flood situation in joking and irreverent tones on social media platforms.

It is forecast that more precipitation will ravage China in the coming days. In the affected regions, average rainfall can reach 150 millimeters.

As the rainy season continues, more efforts are needed to brace against flooding in the country.

Local governments and concerned departments should monitor weather and flooding changes closely, issue forecasts and alerts in a timely and accurate manner, pinpoint problematic areas along important rivers and pay special attention to reservoir safety.

Meanwhile, all the waterways and drainage pipes should be dredged. Advanced equipment should be installed to monitor the water levels in waterways and test the depth of water in the major underpasses that are vulnerable to rainstorms. Yellow and red danger marks should be drawn at spots where rainwater pools easily.

Moreover, following incessant heavy rainfall and possible deluges, some geological and other secondary disasters such as landslides, mud-rock flows and infectious diseases are prone to occur.

To bear the brunt, the Chinese Government should take pains to curb outdoor activities in affected regions, ensure safe drinking water and qualified sanitation, provide more clothes, tents and makeshift shelters to needy families, help affected farmers claim agricultural insurance compensation and create more jobs to offset the secondary consequences of flooding. 

Emergency evacuation and relocation plans for affected residents should also be made in advance in case that any sluice has to be opened wide for flood discharge.

(The author is the editor-in-chief of Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)