You are here: Home» Development News» Highlights

Planning Mistake Blamed for City's Flood Woes

Adjust font size:

Planning mistake blamed for city's flood woes

The worst flood to hit eastern Sichuan Province in more than 160 years was exacerbated by the narrowing of Qujiang River to allow for new construction, city officials admitted.

A mistake in the planning of a 3-meter riverside path, which was built on former flood land in 1991, hinders the discharge of water, it was confirmed.

Guang'an consists of new and old districts. The low-lying old district has been flooded three times in six years, with the economic loss surpassing 1 billion yuan (US$140 million) each time.

The flood on Monday, the most severe since 1847, saw water levels rise higher than 25.8 meters, 9 meters above the alert line, inundating almost every building.

At its climax, 28,000 cubic meters of water flowed across the city per second, said Xu Yuanwu, chief of the city's water conservancy bureau.

Damage was caused to 114 schools, 234 hospitals and 15,500 houses, with some completely destroyed.

Local residents attribute the frequent floods partly to the use of flood land for the riverside path.

In response to complaints, Xu acknowledged the mistake in planning the path and said the path did hinder the discharge of floodwater.

The flood this year has cost Guang'an almost 9.1 billion yuan and the city has applied for 500 million yuan from the State to reinforce its dikes.

There were no reported casualties as the city used two reservoirs to store part of the Qujiang River water, said Xu.

As a result of excessive rain in the upper reaches of the Qujiang River, the Guang'an section became swollen last Sunday. After the flood receded to normal levels on Wednesday morning, 230,000 evacuees returned home to clear silt piled up in houses and in the streets.

Life is gradually returning to normal in the city, and on Friday morning, Maliwan, the largest farm produce market in the old district, reopened.

Families have been able to cook at home since Wednesday as markets in the new district were unaffected by the flood, said retired teacher Liao Guizhen, 71.

Food prices have not risen thanks to the amply supply of meat and vegetables from neighboring cities and counties, she said.

A few shops also opened on Friday to sell garments and home electrical appliances at discount prices.

"I have stored the goods in high buildings and want to sell them at a discount to mitigate the losses from the flood," said trader Zhang Yongdong.

Water and gas supplies have resumed but many fixed line telephones were still not working on Friday. Many houses also had no electricity and only lights were on in major streets. Workers from the power bureau were checking and repairing the electricity lines.

Vehicles carrying flood relief could pass the old city district but other cars and trucks were stopped because health workers feared they could spread disease, said Zheng Can, a Guang'an information officer.

"Health workers are spraying disinfectant in the streets and in homes," he added. "The process is expected to last several more days."

(China Daily July 24, 2010)