BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities have launched massive rescue and relief efforts in response to typhoon-induced torrential rains, which have left 11 dead in the national capital Beijing.
The persistent downpours since Saturday night have affected over 44,600 people in 13 districts of the metropolis and prompted the relocation of around 127,000 people, according to the city's flood control authorities.
Affected by Typhoon Doksuri, extreme rainfall was recorded in north China and the regions along the Yellow and Huaihe rivers, triggering floods and geological disasters and causing heavy casualties in Beijing and Hebei.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday demanded all-out search and rescue of the people missing or trapped in floods and geological disasters in an instruction on the work regarding flood prevention and disaster relief.
It is crucial to ensure medical treatment for the injured and provide aid and comfort to the families of the deceased, said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
The safety of the people's lives and properties as well as social stability must be ensured with utmost efforts, Xi said.
Sanitation workers clean up a street in flood-hit Mentougou District of Beijing, capital of China, July 31, 2023. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)
An average of 261 mm of rainfall inundated Beijing in 60 hours between Saturday night and Tuesday morning, with maximum rainfall exceeding 740 mm in a reservoir in Changping District.
Several districts in the city, including the hardest-hit Fangshan and Mentougou, maintained the highest-level alert for flood control on Tuesday, as downpours will continue, the city's flood control authorities said.
"On Monday morning, the road in front of my house turned into a river, and no one dared go out," said a resident of Mentougou District, adding that after the water receded, the streets were filled with mud, tree branches and stranded cars.
Beijing has taken multiple measures to tackle the downpour-induced disasters. Beijing Drainage Group Co., Ltd. has launched the highest-level emergency response to flooding, dispatching staff members to double-check the drainage facilities in risk areas. Recovery vehicles and workers in orange uniforms were seen clearing away the mud and debris.
"From Saturday noon to Monday noon, we handled 23 tasks received via hotline. During the 48 hours of duty, I hardly had time to rest," said 32-year-old Shao Songsong, a staff member of the drainage company.
The Beijing Communications Administration has set up on-site bases in Fangshan and Mentougou districts to guide the repair work on the damaged telecommunication infrastructure. The two districts have already sent communication support personnel, emergency communication vehicles and the like to the affected areas.
This aerial photo taken on July 31, 2023 shows water gushing out from the Huangbizhuang Reservoir in Luquan District of Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province. (Photo by Bai Yunfei/Xinhua)
Fang Chong, chief forecaster of the National Meteorological Center, explained that the ongoing spell of rainfall is mainly attributable to the northward movement of Typhoon Doksuri's residual circulation. It is characterized by prolonged and continuous precipitation, resulting in significant accumulated rainfall, and poses high risks of potential disasters.
Taking Beijing as an example, heavy rainfall is expected to persist until Wednesday morning with the total duration possibly exceeding 70 hours, Fang said.
The torrential rainfall also lashed Beijing's neighboring Hebei Province, leading to the swelling of rivers, damaging bridges and prompting the evacuation of people. Hebei renewed an orange alert for rainstorms on Tuesday.
From 8 a.m. Saturday to 2 p.m. Monday, the average precipitation in Baoding City reached 299.7 mm, with 334 meteorological observation stations reporting rainfall of more than 100 mm. To manage the heavy downpour situation, nearly 2,000 police officers have been deployed on duty across Baoding. As of Monday noon, more than 54,890 people had been evacuated.
The Ministry of Water Resources has maintained a Level-II emergency response to floods in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in the north of the country and deployed 10 work teams for the flood response in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and other regions.
This aerial photo shows fishing boats taking shelter from the approaching Typhoon Khanun at a harbor in Daishan County, Zhoushan City, east China's Zhejiang Province, July 31, 2023. (Photo by Yao Feng/Xinhua)
As the impact of Doksuri subsides, weather forecasters have issued a warning about Typhoon Khanun, the sixth typhoon of this year, which is approaching the eastern coast of China.
Meteorological experts expected storm tides to hit coastal areas of east China's Zhejiang Province from Monday to Thursday due to the impact of Khanun, with tides along some sections of the coast surging higher than the alert level.
So far, the province has relocated over 190,000 people to safer places, suspended 60 sea passenger routes, and temporarily halted 260 water-related projects. More than 14,000 rescue workers are on standby, according to Zhejiang's provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.
(Video reporters: Guo Peiran, Ju Huanzong, Zhang Chenlin, Yang Shujun, Ma Xiaodong, Sun Lei, Wang Xiunan, Xia Zilin and Tian Chenxu; Video editors: Li Ziwei and Zhao Xiaoqing.) ■