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Sichuan floods claim two more lives

Updated: 2013-07-16 01:04
By Huang Zhiling ( China Daily)

Two bodies were retrieved from the lower reaches of the Fujiang River in Sichuan province on Monday morning, casualties of the rain-triggered floods that caused havoc in the region last week.

Local information official Chen Wen confirmed the two victims died after the Qinglian Bridge in Jiangyou, a county-level city in Mianyang, collapsed in a flood on July 9.

Ten people and five vehicles are still missing after the bridge collapsed.

"Some 5,000 rescuers have joined in the search for the missing in the lower reaches of the river," Chen said.

The storms, which began in Sichuan on July 7, impacted 15 cities and autonomous prefectures, disrupting the lives of more than 3.4 million people, according to the Sichuan provincial department of civil affairs. Sixty-eight people have died, 179 are still missing and 286,000 people have been evacuated. Economic losses have been estimated at more than 20 billion yuan ($3.3 billion).

Ongoing rainfall since Saturday has caused landslides on both sides of the Feishuigou River in Hanyuan, a county under the administration of Ya'an in Sichuan.

About 600,000 cubic meters of mud and rocks brought down by landslides have formed a barrier lake with about 2 million cu m of water. The newly formed lake is threatening seven townships on the lower reaches and is creating a major obstacle for approximately 5,100 villagers who have to travel out of the area.

"Experts from Sichuan University of Science and Technology, Sichuan Vocational and Technical College of Water Conservancy and Sichuan Geological Prospecting Bureau have rushed to the site to find a solution," said Tang Shiping, an information officer in Ya'an.

Early on Saturday, heavy floods in Shimian, a county in Ya'an, stranded about 400 people in Keping village, Caoke township.

"As floods have inundated roads to Keping, rescuers have braved floods to reach the village and found that all the villagers are safe," said Hu Jijun, deputy county magistrate.

Rainstorms have caused the most severe floods and landslides in the Wolong Nature Reserve in Wenchuan county, Sichuan, since the magnitude-8 Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.

Pandas safe

The Wolong Nature Reserve is home to 170 pandas: 10 are located exactly in Wolong, 74 at its Bifengxia base in Ya'an and the remainder are housed at the reserve's Dujiangyan base. "All of them are safe from the rainstorms in Sichuan," Zhang said.

The Sichuan provincial meteorological bureau had issued a blue warning after it forecast rainstorms in central and western Sichuan from Monday evening to Thursday.

The Chinese mainland uses a four-tier color-coded weather warning system. Red represents the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue. The Sichuan provincial government announced on Sunday it will close all of its rural mountainous resorts during future flood seasons after a treacherous landslide uprooted several resorts in Dujiangyan last Wednesday.

The landslide killed 43 people in Sanxi village in Zhongxing town, with 118 still missing.

"The operations to rescue the victims and look for the missing are over today as there are no sign of life at the site of the landslide," said Xia Chunguang, an information officer in Dujiangyan on Monday.

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