Li visits heavily damaged homes, fields, assures help on the way
Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday encouraged Chongqing residents to rebuild flood-damaged homes as the city faces one of its worst floods in history.
Li, while visiting Shuangba village in Chongqing, said that President Xi Jinping’s significant instructions on flood prevention and post-disaster reconstruction should be fully implemented, and the safety of people’s lives and property should be soundly secured.
The entire village of 8,000 residents, alongside the Fujiang River, a branch of the Yangtze River, was hit by flooding and crops were destroyed.
Li visited flooded houses, waterlogged farmlands and shelters for displaced villagers. He said the Party and government will help villagers overcome their difficulties, adding that he believes they can rebuild if everyone works together.
On Monday, floods hit Chongqing for a fifth time this year after recent heavy rainstorms in the Sichuan Basin in the upper reaches of the Yangtze. Its flood control and drought relief headquarters upgraded its response to the highest level on Tuesday afternoon for the first time ever. The flood’s peak began passing through the city on Thursday.
Cuntan station on the Yangtze River in Chongqing saw its highest water level in eight decades on Thursday morning, according to the Chongqing Emergency Response Bureau.
“It is the highest water level since the Cuntan hydrographic station was built in 1939, and it is also the largest inflow of floodwaters into the Three Gorges reservoir,” said Zhang Shiming, director of the Upper Reaches Bureau of the Changjiang Water Resources Commission.
The flood has caused water levels at all hydrographic stations along the Jialing and the Yangtze rivers to exceed levels considered safe, triggering a series of alerts. Maximum water levels at major stations such as Cuntan and Ciqikou exceeded safe levels by 8 to 9 meters on Thursday.
Chongqing had evacuated over 250,000 people and relocated about 130,000 people by late Thursday, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The Ministry of Water Resources said the Three Gorges reservoir in Hubei province was likely on Thursday to see the heaviest flooding since it was built in 2003 because of the sustained heavy rain.
A strong subtropical high stationary over the Yangtze River Basin has brought heavy, long-lasting rains, causing 51 rivers to rise above their warning level in the past week, the ministry said. That is the level at which the first warnings are sent to residents to prepare for possible flooding.
Water flow into the reservoir increased to an estimated 76,000 cubic meters per second on Thursday, the highest rate ever at the reservoir. That increased the discharge of excess water to about 48,000 cubic meters of water per second, up from 44,000 cubic meters, the ministry said. Water releases would be scheduled as appropriate and the best use would be made of all reservoirs along the river to reduce the impact of flooding, it said.
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