Chinese local governments take timely measures to evacuate public from flood-hit regions

Rescuers relocate villagers in Dazhou village, Yijiang township, Xingan county, east China’s Jiangxi province, July 10. People’s Daily Online/Fu Sun

Heavy rain has been hitting the area spanning the east of China’s southwestern region to the midstream and downstream areas of the Yangtze River since June, resulting in floods and landslides that seriously threatened the safety of the public. Timely evacuation of the public is one of the most effective measures to guarantee the safety of the people.

Panping village in Shimen county, Nanbei township, Changde of central China’s Hunan province was hit by a huge downpour at the end of the last month. When villager Chen Jinlan had just tidied up his kitchen after lunch, Party chief of Nanbei township Qin Hao and Party secretary of the village Xu Bo came to him and persuaded him to move to another place to take shelter from the rain. “The rain will keep pouring these days, and it is warned that there might be landslides in Leijiashan Mountain,” the two Party cadres told Chen.

Changde Natural Resources and Planning Bureau detected the risk of geological hazards in Leijiashan Mountain, where Panping village locates during the flood season last year, and a high-precision warning system based on Beidou satellites was installed to ensure safety of the region.

The system spotted abnormal monitoring data on June 24, forecasting a high risk of sudden geological disasters in the following days. The warning of the system helped successfully evacuate 20 people from 6 households in the caution area on the same day.

The system issued its third alarm at 2:11 pm on June 6, and just within three hours, a landslide occurred. “Fortunately, no one was hurt in this disaster,” Qin told People’s Daily.

Wang Zhangli, head of the Department of Flood and Drought Disaster Prevention under China’s Ministry of Water Resources introduced that precise forecast wins valuable time for relocation. At present, the ministry is working in shifts to analyze forecasts so it can timely inform relevant regions and offer support for decision-making. In addition, the forecast is also delivered to emergency departments for better preparation of emergency response and rescue activities.

At 7:40 pm, July 12, the embankment of a river near Ligang village, Sanjiao township in east China’s Jiangxi province was breached. After receiving a phone call from the township government at 8:00 pm, Peng Tanggen, director of Ligang village immediately led four village cadres to mobilize the villagers to evacuate. In 8 hours, all 1,600 villagers from over 300 households were relocated to a higher place.

“We must deliver the information on disasters to everyone as soon as we receive it,” said Wang. Migrant workers and tourists are most likely to be neglected in the notification, and to eliminate potential risks, the Ministry of Water Resources enhanced its cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and launched a public warning service together with three major telecommunication carriers. Besides, in rural areas where floods may cut down electricity and communication, counties, townships and villages are requested to be equipped with not only broadcast facilities, but also loudspeakers and drums for timely receiving and sending emergency messages.

Jiangxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China and the People’s Government of Jiangxi Province demanded that relocation sites shall offer food and water, beds, relevant materials, showers, and medical service. Besides, order should also be maintained at these sites to enhance coordination and standardize management.

In addition, emergency departments shall ensure material supply, and health departments must establish medical service stations for epidemic prevention and control. Public security offices should strengthen their work at the relocation sites, and food supervision department should strengthen monitoring of food safety around these sites.

To cope with the floods, east China’s Anhui province issued an emergency notice on July 11, raising clear requests for the construction of relocation sites.

According to the Department of Emergency Management of central China’s Hubei province, as of 3:00 pm, July 13, the province has relocated over 320,000 people since it entered the early-summer rainy season.

By combining centralized and separate relocation, local governments across China are making every effort to ensure the basic needs of the people in disaster-hit areas.

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