Monday, July 23, 2012

Devastating floods hit Beijing

In Britain the rain clouds have finally disappeared and the sun has come out, with less than a week until the Olympic opening ceremony. Half way round the world Beijing  is suffering the effects of the worst rain storms in 60 years. At least 37 have died and thousands have been displaced while thousands of others have been stranded at Beijing International Airport [BBC / BBC round-up / BBC - pictures / FT / China DailyChina Daily / Global Times / Xinhua].

The high death toll and widespread damage has sparked anger amongst Beijingers. Many have questioned how such a modern city could be hit so badly by floods [WSJ]. Despite the heavy rain, Beijing along with many other parts of China are also suffering from a stifling heatwave with day time temperatures of up to 34°C. Beijing also saw heavy flooding in June 2011, though there were no reported casualties in the city itself [tvnewswatch: Heavy rain brings flash floods to Beijing]. 

Flooding is usually confined to the south and east of the country, with often devastating floods annually affecting Guangdong province. The floods seen this week in Beijing might be a wake up call for authorities who may need to look at improving the city's drainage system. There was one positive aspect of the storms perhaps highlighted by a series of photos Xinhua posted on its website. The heavily polluted air [Twitter: BeijingAir] that only days ago had reduced visibility to only a few metres [yfrog] had been washed away and the air quality was once again breathable [Twitter: BeijingAir].

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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