Military Helicopters Deliver Aid to Beijing Flood Victims

This photo taken on July 31, 2023 shows people look at a partially submerged building in a flooded area, after heavy rains in Fangshan district in Beijing. Photo by CNS / AFP

Beijing, China -- China deployed military helicopters on Tuesday to deliver supplies to stranded train passengers in Beijing, state media reported, after deadly rainstorms wreaked havoc in the capital.



Storm Doksuri, a former super typhoon, has swept northwards over China since Friday, when it hit southern Fujian province after scything through the Philippines.



Heavy rains began pummelling the city and surrounding areas on Saturday, with nearly the average rainfall for the entire month of July dumped on Beijing in just 40 hours.



At least two people died from floods in Beijing on Monday, while another two casualties were reported in northeastern Liaoning over the weekend.



On Tuesday, a military unit of 26 soldiers and four helicopters launched an "airdrop rescue mission" to deliver hundreds of food packages and ponchos to people stranded in and around a train station in Beijing's hard-hit Mentougou district, state broadcaster CCTV reported.



"On July 31, areas in Beijing including Fangshan and Mentougou suffered serious damage from water, causing 3 trains to get trapped on their routes, and road traffic in some areas was completely cut off," CCTV reported.



The broadcaster was running live images on Tuesday morning of a row of buses half submerged in floodwater in Beijing's southwest Fangshan neighbourhood.



Around 150,000 households in Mentougou had no running water, the local Communist Party newspaper Beijing Daily said on Tuesday, with 45 water tankers dispatched to offer emergency supplies.



Local media on Monday published footage of chaotic scenes on high-speed rail trains stranded on tracks for as long as 30 hours, with passengers complaining that they had run out of food and water.



- Red alert -



Beijing and neighbouring Hebei province were on red alert overnight for rainstorms, with meteorological authorities warning of potential flash floods and landslides.



The city activated a flood control reservoir on Monday for the first time since it was built in 1998, the Beijing Daily said.



In Handan, Hebei province, rescuers lifted by crane reached a man trapped on his car in floodwaters on Sunday, lifting him to safety before the car was flipped and washed away by the current.



China has been experiencing extreme weather and posting record temperatures this summer, events that scientists say are being exacerbated by climate change.



Experts had warned that the downpour could prompt even worse flooding than in July 2012, when 79 people were killed and tens of thousands evacuated, according to local media.



The country is already preparing for the arrival of another typhoon -- Khanun, the sixth such storm of the year -- as it nears China's east coast.



© Agence France-Presse


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