China’s capital city Beijing is in chaos after experiencing the the heaviest rainfall in 60 years. The ensuing flooding has overwhelmed the city’s infrastructure causing drains to overflow and rivers to run through the streets. The disaster has left 37 people dead, prompting the Chinese media to raise questions about why more warnings were not given.
The storm first started on Saturday with the rain continuing for several hours. However, by the time the rain had ended, the streets were flooded and thousands of people were stranded. As a result, hundreds of flights were cancelled.
Despite massive infrastructure renovations before the Beijing Olympic Games, it would appear that the city’s drainage system simply failed to cope with the heavy rain. What was even more surprising was that the centuries-old ditches around the Forbidden City held up better, and as a result, the national monument was kept relatively dry.
Chinese social network users have slammed the city’s infrastructure systems, asking how an Olympic city’s drainage system could be so vulnerable. Others called the entire government unreliable and blamed the “sub-standard” weather forecasting and warning services.
“If we could have received a reminder from the government saying ‘there will be a rain storm, please do not go out’, could we have avoided some of the tragedies?” a Sina Weibo (Chinese equivalent of Twitter) user in Jilin posted.
According to the BBC, the criticism has even come from national media outlets, including the Global Times who reportedly said, “Chinese cities are apparently unpracticed in facing disasters such as Saturday’s torrential downpour. If so much chaos can be triggered in Beijing, the capital of the nation, problems in urban infrastructure of many other places can only be worse.”
The damage from the flooding is expected to cost the country $1.5 billion and has seen over 60,000 people evacuated from their homes. Of the 37 deaths, Beijing officials said that 25 of them had occurred through drowning while the rest had been due to roof collapses, lightning strikes and electrocution.
Via BBC News