Entries in Rain (5)


Doubt Grows in Beijing as Thousands Struggle to Rebuild After Floods

ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images(BEIJING) -- On the outskirts of Beijing, thousands have found themselves suddenly homeless after the city’s worst storm in over 60 years hit this weekend.

In some areas, a wall of water 17 feet high swept through buildings, engulfed automobiles and collapsed roads, leaving behind an unrecognizable trail of thick red mud and rubble.  The official estimates of over $1.6 billion in damages and 1.9 million people affected have caused many to doubt the government’s ability to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

The 10-hour downpour was deadly: according to the official announcement, 37 people died by drowning, collapsing houses, electrocution, and a lightning strike.  Still, many online bloggers have expressed doubts and anger about the government count, estimating a significantly higher death toll.

“So the statistics says 170,000 livestock dead,” wrote one blogger.  “I don’t understand: if they can count the number of dead animals, why can’t they count the number of dead people?”

Other bloggers are in disbelief that floods could cause such catastrophic damage in the capital city, which spent tens of billions of dollars modernizing infrastructure ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Another blog user wrote, “A rain storm can bring so much damage to Beijing.  With the super-fast development of our city, infrastructure like drainage facilities is way behind pace.  Zillions was invested to build tall buildings, but many lives were taken away just by the rain.  Without a good foundation, the city will collapse.”

The village of Beicheying in Beijing’s Fangshan District was one of the most devastated areas, where a record 18 inches of rain fell during the storm.  When ABC News visited on Wednesday, four days after the flooding, the neighborhood was still unrecognizable to locals, who used straw brooms to sweep out the water in their homes as bulldozers scooped up pile after pile of street debris.  Emergency crews have repurposed an elementary school as a refugee area, where residents lined up for food and water rations amidst lines of tents.

In this hard-hit village, everyone is trying to rationalize the damage.  Many attribute it to the fact that there is only one sewer pipe to serve the entire area.  One official asserted that the village’s position at the foot of a mountain range predestined the flooding.

While the efforts of the rescue teams have not gone unnoticed, villagers like a factory owner, who gave his name as Mr. Fung, are already concerned about the long-term.  Fung, whose factory was destroyed in the flood, worries about falling into bankruptcy without government assistance.

“I don’t know whether or not the government cares.  So far they haven’t done anything.  They lost millions, and we have a really small factory, so I don’t know if anyone is going to help us,” he said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Landslides Kill More than 20 in South Korea

Ryan McVay/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Landslides triggered by torrential rains over the past two days have killed at least 22 people in South Korea, emergency officials said Wednesday.

The Korea Herald reports Chuncheon as being the hardest hit, with at least 13 people dying when several residential buildings were destroyed in a landslide.  At least 20 more were injured, four of them critically.

Emergency officials said most of the victims of the Chuncheon landslide were students from Incheon's Inha University who were doing volunteer work in the area. The cabin in which they were staying was reportedly engulfed by a raging river of mud, according to the Lethbridge Herald.

Over 50 miles away at the capital of Seoul, a separate landslide left at least nine people dead.

South Korea's disaster control agency said six people have been reported missing, according to The Korea Herald.

Search and rescue efforts are underway.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China: More Rain Forecast After Dozens Killed, More Displaced

STR / Getty Images(BEIJING) -- It will be several days before parts of China get relief from the rain and flooding that has killed at least 175 people and forced thousands more to evacuate their homes.

Wet weather is expected for Suchuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Henan and Shandong, according to the National Meteorological Center.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs estimates that the direct economic losses amount to at least $4.9 billion, or 32.02 billion yuan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Rain Headed to Flooded Australia as River Begins to Recede

Photo Courtesy - Torsten Blackwood /AFP/Getty Images(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- The worst of the water woes appears to be over for Rockhampton, the biggest city caught up in the Queensland flood that stranded over 200,000 Australians.

Rain has returned to northeastern Australia, but Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter isn't too worried on its effect.

"The rain that we're expecting over the next couple of days is not likely to have any effect on the flood levels that we're seeing that are coming from the river system," Carter said.

The Fitzroy River, which runs through Rockhampton, has peaked and it's now slowing starting to recede.

"It certainly takes, you know, a lot of the pressure off," Carter said in response.

The damage below the waterline won't be determined for some time.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says, "We're not going to know the true dimensions of the damage until floodwaters recede and can see what's happening with roads, what's happened with bridges, what's happened with vital infrastructure like schools.  But I can say that we will be working every step of the way with the Queensland government."

Clean-up efforts in the region are expected to take several months and the cost of damages are estimated to run in the billions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Floods Leave 200,000 Australians Stranded

Photo Courtesy - Torsten Blackwood /AFP/Getty Images(BRISBANE, Australia) -- More than 200,000 Australians have been affected by relentless flooding stemming from rain that fell for days last week in Queensland.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said 22 towns "are either substantially flooded or isolated because the roads have been cut off to them."  Bligh added that the flooding spans "an area that's bigger than the size of France and Germany combined."

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured the affected areas Friday and said, "Federal government and state government are working closely together through national disaster relief and recovery arrangements and will continue to do so."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio