There is one statement about the typhoon that hit China in July and August that is causing a stir: “Reduce flood pressure on Beijing.
The “Beijing Flooding Pressure Must Be Reduced. “Reduce the pressure of flooding on Beijing, and play the role of a ‘moat’ to protect the capital city.
The Chinese media reported that Ni Yuefeng, the head of Hebei Province, which is adjacent to Beijing, gave these instructions. In other words, Ni ordered that Hebei Province be sacrificed as a “moat” to reduce the damage from torrential rains in Beijing.
Typhoon No. 5 caused tremendous damage, especially in eastern China: from the end of July to the beginning of August, Beijing received more than 744 mm of precipitation, the most ever recorded in the 140 years since observation records were kept. The number of dead or missing exceeded 100.
More than 50 people have died or are missing in Beijing, but most of the damage is in the suburbs, with little flooding or other damage seen in the central area. On the other hand, the damage in neighboring Hebei Province has been devastating. Approximately 3.9 million people were affected, and more than 40,000 houses were destroyed. The total damage is estimated to be as much as 96 billion yuan (about 2 trillion yen),” said a reporter stationed in China for a national newspaper.
Why was the damage in central Beijing so minor and that in Hebei Province so severe? The reason seems to lie in the order of the head of Hebei Province, as mentioned at the beginning of this article. Journalist Kota Takaguchi, an expert on the situation in China, explains.
China has designated about 100 areas across the country as “reservoir flood zones,” where overflowing water can be poured into. They are used as moats to protect large cities like Beijing from flooding. This time, seven flood storage areas were used, and the damage was most severe in Luzhou City, Hebei Province, where two of them are located.
In Japan, too, there are flood control projects that use flood control reservoirs, but they are basically uninhabited. However, about 700,000 people live in the heavily damaged city of Yuzhou. In the background of the spread of damage, Mr. Takaguchi continues, “The authorities’ careless handling of the situation may have been a factor.
It seems that many residents were not informed in advance that water would be poured into the city. There were also many residents who were unaware of the “storage flood zone” system. Foreign media reported local residents’ dissatisfaction, saying, ‘The water flowed in without any notice,’ and ‘The amount of water increased even after the rain stopped.
It seems that past flooding records and hazard maps were not distributed to the residents.
In Beijing, there is a sub-city center project that is being promoted by President Xi Jinping. However, the site is originally a swampy area that is prone to flooding. Many people are critical of the fact that Xi has opened up a large number of storage flood zones in consideration of his ambitious plan, which has resulted in extensive damage to the area.
The giant typhoon submerged the cities around Beijing. The expansion of damage was also influenced in no small part by man-made disasters.
From the September 1, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO.： AP/Afro Reuters/Afro