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Saturday, July 23, 2016

devastating floods in China kills 100s and damages lot of property !!

Chennaites will remember Nov & Dec 2015 rains – it rained so heavily that the Maraimalai adigal bridge in Saidapet had water running over it ! ..  .. .. a few months after the floods, most Insurance claims perhaps stands settled and insurance rates still at the same rockbottom with people involved stating that floods were a rare occurrence and hence should not be factored in rating !


Miles away in China, the Yellow River or Huáng Hé,  is the third-longest river in Asia, following the Yangtze River and Yenisei River, and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km (3,395 mi).  The river basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. However, because of frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed (due in part to manmade erosion upstream), sometimes above the level of its surrounding farm fields, it also has the names China's Sorrow.

Flood mostly is natural phenomenon and could be devastating – it is overflow of water that submerges land which is usually dry. The European Union (EU) Floods Directive defines a flood as a covering by water of land not normally covered by water.  Flooding may occur as an overflow of water from water bodies, such as a river, lake, or ocean, in which the water overtops or breaks levees, resulting in some of that water escaping its usual boundaries, or it may occur due to an accumulation of rainwater on saturated ground – there could be combination of factors as well.   Some floods develop slowly, while others such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain.
floods in France
A one-hundred-year flood is a flood event that has a 1% probability of occurring in any given year. Based on the expected 100-year flood flow rate, the flood water level can be mapped as an area of inundation.  But there may not be a pattern ! .. .. ….. the  1931 China floods were a series of floods that occurred in the Republic of China. The flooding of yellow river is generally considered among one of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded, and almost certainly the deadliest of the 20th century.

Hebei is a province of China in the North China region. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Huang He 黄河(Yellow River). Henan is a province located in the central part of the country. Although the name of the province means "south of the river",approximately a quarter of the province lies north of the Yellow River, also known as the "Huang He".  Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained China's cultural, economical, and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago.

The provinces are in news for wrong reasons .. floods  in north and central China have killed at least 150 people, with scores missing and hundreds of thousands forced from homes, reports BBC.  Hebei and Henan provinces are the worst hit by the flash floods and landslides. At least 114 people have been killed in Hebei, with 111 missing and 53,000 houses destroyed, officials say. Heavy rains this past week in northern China caused extensive flooding, overwhelming levees and killing at least 72 people in one province, with many others missing, state media reported.

The death toll in Xingtai, an industrial city in Hebei Province, rose sharply on Saturday, days after a wall of water descended on one village in the middle of the night with little or no warning, according to the Beijing News. In addition to the 25 people in Xingtai who were confirmed dead, 13 were missing, China National Radio reported on its official social media site. In both places, the local government took days to make public the devastation and report the casualties. The reports were from only two locations in Hebei, a densely populated province on the North China Plain that abuts Beijing. On Saturday, the website of the local Ministry of Civil Affairs listed 72 deaths, 78 people missing and more than 298,000 people displaced across the province. Hebei has a population of more than 73 million.

Large portions of China have been inundated with heavy rain this summer. More than 160 people died in southern China after heavy rains and flooding this month, with many people blaming the local government for failing to invest in proper drainage systems and for the extensive filling in of lakes that in the past could absorb much of the water. Chinese-language posts on Twitter, which is blocked in China,  reportedly are showing  pictures and videos purporting to show the devastation in the village of Daxian, which was inundated after a nearby levee burst. One video showed water cascading over homes, turning streets into rivers and apparently sweeping several people away. Other images showed corpses in farm fields. The images could not be verified as genuine.

In a news conference on Saturday, officials in Xingtai denied reports that the flooding had been caused by an unannounced discharge from a local dam, saying that the flood was the worst in the area’s history and that people had been given warning of the heavy flooding through social media and television alerts.   Though it is not  clear why the local governments did not report news of the flooding and deaths sooner, it reportedly  is not unusual for Chinese officials to want to play down bad news. In 2012, heavy floods in Beijing killed dozens of people, but officials were slow to disclose details. Effective flood control has been a marker of well-run governments in China for thousands of years.

At the places devastated by floods, the victims  complained about a lack of flood warnings and ineffective rescue efforts. There  have been power cuts and major problems with the communications and transport networks across a wide area, Xinhua said. The summer rains have been especially heavy in China this year.  BBC reports that it is  estimated that more than 1.5 million hectares of crops have been damaged and said direct economic losses exceed $3bn (£2.3bn).

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd July 2016 @ 22:24 hrs.

Source : BBC and other media.

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