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63 killed, 101 missing in northeast China
Publication Date : 22-08-2013
More than 20,000 flood survivors in Nankouqian, Liaoning province, northeast China were busy digging their property out of the mud on Wednesday after downpours struck the town late last week.
Nankouqian’s busiest street, which is about 200 metres long, was the centre of the rain’s devastation. After the flood, the street was covered in a metre of mud, and doors and windows for more than 100 merchants on the street were yanked out.
Rains hit Fushun and nearby areas, but Nankouqian was the hardest-hit in what officials are calling the worst flood in decades. The downpours, which began on Thursday and didn't let up until Saturday, swamped rural houses, cutting off railways, roads and power supplies in the city. About 400 residents, mainly elderly people, women and children, who lost their homes on Wednesday are living in 64 tents around town.
By Wednesday, the heavy rain had led to the deaths of 63 people, and 101 others were missing, according to the local government.
About 163,000 people have been evacuated, and local authorities estimate the flood affected 436,000 in Fushun.
Li Changshan, a 42-year-old Nankouqian resident, has been removing sludge from his home and a canteen that he owns since Monday. He said he and his wife have been working eight to nine hours a day trying to remove the mud.
"The flood happened so fast on Friday night. The water went up to my neck within 10 minutes when I realised the danger," he said.
"I tried my best to lift my 12-year-old son up, but my wife and I had no idea where we should run until my neighbour called our names from his second-floor house. Then we moved to his house."
Li said most of the goods in his canteen — worth more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,265) — have been destroyed.
"But I still feel lucky because all my family members are safe," he said.
Wang Guibin, an official in the Qingyuan Manchu autonomous county government, which has jurisdiction over Nankouqian, has been living in a 5-square-metre tent since Saturday.
He is in charge of distributing supplies for neighbouring villages.
"I only sleep four to five hours a day, but I have no time to feel tired because I am extremely busy these days. It’s the worst flood I’ve seen since 1995," he said. "There’s sufficient food and drinking water for now. The most pressing needs so far are clothes and shoes."
Wang Meiyu, 25, a resident of nearby Haiyang, escaped the flood with her husband on Friday night after standing for 10 hours on one of their home’s windowsills.
"My toe was injured (from standing on the windowsill) … because I didn’t have shoes, just a pair of flip-flops. It was very inconvenient and really cold at night, but I had no choice," she said.
Nearly half of Haiyang’s 400 residents are either barefoot or wearing slippers, she said. About 90 per cent of the homes, including Wang’s, in the village, were destroyed in the flood.
"I hope government authorities will give financial support or building materials to us to help rebuild our homes as soon as possible," she said.