Relaymedia

World Vision China Responds to 'Devastating' Floods

( [email protected] ) Aug 02, 2007 02:10 PM EDT
A World Vision China Humanitarian Emergency Affairs assessment team has arrived in the hardest hit counties of Shou and Fengtai in Anhui, China, where floods have brought widespread chaos and devastation.
Paramilitary policemen help move local residents trapped during a flood to a safe area in Tongzi county, southwest China's Guizhou province, July 30, 2007. (China Daily/Reuters)

A World Vision China Humanitarian Emergency Affairs assessment team has arrived in the hardest hit counties of Shou and Fengtai in Anhui, China, where floods have brought widespread chaos and devastation.

The team of four have visited several villages by boat, carrying with them emergency relief supplies as well as child-friendly kits to victims across the province where prolonged heavy rains have turned all land space into a giant sea. Many houses and almost all farmlands have been submerged.

According to estimates, it will take more than two months for the floodwaters to subside. It is expected that victims will soon face food shortage problems when they run out of their existing food stocks around September time.

World Vision plans to appeal to the Hong Kong SAR Government for funding for 1,047,000 kg of rice to approximately 69,800 people in the two counties, seeing villagers' urgent need for food grains.

Torrential rains have been affecting the Shou County since the beginning of July, with the most concentrated rains falling between 7 and 9 July.The second largest lake in Anhui, Wapu Lake, is now 3.83 meters over its alert level. More than 506,000 people in 25 townships are affected, and among them 83,900 people have been evacuated to safety.

The non-stop heavy rains have also wreaked havoc in Fengtai County where large volumes of rainfall have caused river levels to exceed 1.64 meters over the alert level. To make things worse, a dyke that was built to keep floodwater from the low-lying areas in Qianmiao Township broke on July 19, resulting in the surrounding villages being completely submerged.

Over 215,000 people are affected and around 16,733 hectares of farmlands have been inundated, of which 80 per cent of crops are reported totally lost. It is estimated that 9,476 houserooms have collapsed and 33,000 others are damaged in the whole county. Estimated economic losses stand at $42.8m.

Many houses were poorly built and the floodwater has further weakened their structures, making it likely that more houses will collapse after the water subsides. Cracks are already seen on the outer walls of some houses. World Vision also plans, therefore, to rebuild houses and school premises for the flood-affected populations during the rehabilitation stage.

China has been suffering from severe floods since the beginning of summer this year. World Vision China is currently working in six locations in four affected provinces, namely Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan and Sichuan, distributing 1,075,875 kg of rice with a total of 71,725 beneficiaries.