The risk of major flooding looms increasingly large along the Huaihe
River, part of the dividing line between China's northern and southern
regions. The rain-swollen river has risen above alert-triggering levels,
with more torrential rain forecast for the river's basin.
Due to incessant downpours, the water level at the Wangjiaba
hydrological station reached 27.5 meters, its warning level, late
Friday, marking the river's first flood of the year.
However, the water level further increased to 29.66 meters at 6:36 am
Monday morning, 0.36 meters above the maximum design level for dikes in
the section, according to the Huaihe River Commission.
"The water is expected to keep swelling," the commission said in a news release on Monday.
One of the country's seven major waterways, the Huaihe drops 178
meters over 360 kilometers in its upper reaches. In its middle reach of
490 km, mostly in Anhui province, however, the drop is just 16 meters,
making it difficult for floods to recede in the province. It also passes
through Henan, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces.
On Monday morning, the commission issued a red alert for flooding,
the highest in a four-tier color-coded warning system, while upgrading
the emergency response to Level I, its highest, amid a "grim flood
At 8:30 am Monday, the Wangjiaba Dam opened all of its 13 sluice
gates to discharge floodwaters to the Mengwa Flood Diversion Area in an
effort to relieve the pressure downstream.
The diversion area, a 180-square-kilometer basin, can hold nearly 750 million cubic meters of water.
The area, located in Fuyang, Anhui, is home to over 190,000 people. Most of them, however, are migrant workers in other regions.
"Over 2,000 people in the area were evacuated to safe places Sunday
night," said Lu Haitao, an official on Huaihe River management at the
Anhui Department of Water Resources.
Some of those who live in places high enough to avoid being affected
have gone elsewhere to stay with friends or relatives. The government
will take measures to ensure the supply of daily necessities to people
who stay at home, he added.
The flood control situation in the river may become even more acute with the coming downpours.
From Monday to Wednesday, heavy rainfall is forecast for the drainage
basin of the river, raising the risk of flooding at its trunk stream.
"Some medium-sized and small rivers may suffer major floods," the
Ministry of Emergency Management said.
But it added that rainfall in southern parts of the country, which
has continued for over 40 days, will tend to abate as the rain band
The Huaihe River and the Qinling Mountains to the west form the dividing line between southern and northern China.
Meanwhile, flooding in the Yangtze River has yet to abate.
As of Monday, Jiangsu province has raised its flood alert level to
red for Taihu Lake, Shijiu Lake and the Nanjing and Zhenjiang sections
of the Yangtze.
The water level at the Nanjing hydrological station reached a
historic high of 10.32 meters as of 2 pm Monday, according to the
Jiangsu Water Resources Bureau. The previous record was 10.22 meters in
August 1954. The water level will remain high for about a week,
according to the bureau.
Nanjing's Qixia district had evacuated 306 elderly or disabled people
from Baguazhou Island, the Yangtze's third-largest island, to eight
nursing homes by Sunday. Medical workers from 11 hospitals and medical
centers accompanied the evacuees to ensure their health during the
evacuation and at the homes.
Zhang Guilan, a villager in her 80s, said she was satisfied with the food and living conditions at her nursing home.
"I had a chicken drumstick, cabbage and a bowl of seaweed soup for
dinner," Zhang said. "The room I'm living in has a TV, clean bedclothes
and bathtub safety rails. The food here is even better than what I had
Zhang said she had witnessed how Nanjing's flood defenses were built
and that she had confidence that they would protect the city.
Since 2016, Nanjing has invested more than 8 billion yuan ($1.14
billion) to reinforce its flood defenses, including the 200-km levee
along the Yangtze's main stream.