China Coping With Flooding Better Than Pakistan

The extent of the death toll and chaos in Pakistan caused by monsoon flooding throws a favorable light on the efforts of China’s authorities to deal with months of similar devastating weather across the length and breadth of the country. The relief effort under difficult conditions has been massive with 287,000 military personnel put to rescue work (below) along with vast cadres of civilians. While not all the lessons of the disastrous floods of 1998 have been learned, sufficient have been to have averted what could have been a bigger catastrophe.

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The scale of what China is having to deal with is indicated by a statement from the Red Cross Society of China that it is struggling to mobilize adequate resources in the wake of the appeals it carried out to respond to the Qinghai earthquake and serious drought in central parts of China earlier in the year. Latest official figures, as of July 29, put the death toll from flooding so far this year at 968 dead and 507 missing. The floods have affected 134 million people in 28 provinces. Direct economic losses are now put at 176.5 billion yuan ($26 billion). With rice harvests fast approaching in the southwest and central parts of the country, thousands of small-scale farmers face a hungry future.

The latest region to have been hit is Jilin in the northeast where more than 100 are dead or missing. Flash floods cut roads, triggered landslides and swelled rivers and reservoirs to critical levels. And still the rains continue.

Worst Affected Provinces
No. of People Affected (% of total provincial population)
Hubei: 10 million (17%)
Shaanxi: 3.65 million (10%)
Jiangxi: 5 million (12%)
Sichuan: 17.2 million (21%)

Source: Red Cross of China

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