Liu Keyi, 86, living along the Huaihe
River, has witnessed more than 10 severe floods in his life. However,
when facing the severe flooding this summer, he was not as worried as he
used to be.
"In the past, people
would be in a hurry to evacuate when it rained for three days. Today, we
confident of our safety as we live on the reinforced and elevated
'zhuangtai,' a residential structure on raised ground that functions as a
safe haven from river floods," said Liu.
1,000-km-long mainstream of the Huaihe River originates in Henan
Province and traverses Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces. The Huaihe
River basin also spans the provinces of Hubei and Shandong. Known as one
of the most untamed rivers in China, it floods every three to four
years on average.
In October 1950, the pral government issued a circular to launch the Huaihe River flood control project.
late chairman Mao Zedong called on the country to "cure" the Huaihe
River in 1951, followed by the issuance of a series of government
policies aimed at controlling the flood-prone river.
Liu can never forget the flood in the year of 1950.
"Many dikes were breached, and surging waters swallowed our villages and farmlands, leaving many people homeless," recalled Liu.
Historical documents show that the raging floodwaters claimed 489 lives and toppled more than 890,000 rooms that year.
to these circumstances, the Huaihe River became the first to be
harnessed comprehensively after the founding of the People's Republic of
China in 1949.
According to a white
paper issued by the Huaihe River Commission of the Ministry of Water
Resources, the government has invested over 900 billion yuan (134.4
billion U.S. dollars) in taming the river over the past 70 years.
of June this year, more than 6,300 reservoirs have been constructed and
some 63,000 kilometers of levees have been built and reinforced in the
Huaihe River basin to protect people and property from the recurring
"These major water
conservancy projects have played a key role in harnessing the Huaihe
River," said Gu Hong, deputy director of the Huaihe River Commission of
the Ministry of Water Resources.
with the advanced flood observation system and the introduction of
cutting-edge technology, floods are more precisely predicted and timely
"The automatic monitoring
and reporting system gathers and transmits statistics of water levels of
main hydrological stations every six minutes, and the flood prevention
communication system can automatically send warning messages to
residents once it detects a potential flood risk," said Gu.
These efforts have proven effective.
the more serious flood this year, no casualties were reported and about
5,000 people were evacuated, compared to the situation in 1991 when
more than 500 people were killed and over one million were evacuated.
Fengxiang, a 59-year-old in Huaiyuan County, Anhui Province, often
swims with his friends in Jingshanxia, a p of the Huaihe River.
The place, which is favored by swimmers, used to be a "forbidden area" for swimming in the 1980s due to severe pollution.
River basin contributes 9 perp of the nation's gross domestic
product and one-sixth of the grain output. However, rapid economic and
social development once came at the price of environmental degradation
"It was rare to
detect any living beings from water samples collected from the Huaihe
River at that time due to excessive discharges of industrial waste and
household garbage," said Yang Gang, who has spent decades analyzing
water samples from the river.
1995, the State Council issued a circular to clean the river and rolled
out a raft of measures to prevent and control water pollution.
decades of anti-pollution efforts, the main emissions of chemical
oxygen demand and ammonia and nitrogen into the river have decreased
over 80 perp from the levels in 1993.
Meanwhile, 32 wetland nature reserves and 104 national water conservancy scenic spots have been established as of now.
of living beings can be detected from the water samples in rep years
as the ecosystem of the river has been rapidly restored," said Yang.
2018, China unveiled a plan to promote the development of the Huaihe
River green economic belt to foster regional economic and ecological
"We work to improve the
river environment, allowing people along the river to enjoy the
benefits from green development," said Wan Ye, an official with the
Huaihe Valley Ecology and Environment Administration of the Ministry of
Ecology and Environment.
Yong, who used to live in the floodplain, never expected that he would
live a stable life in a two-story house with refined decorations at the
age of 46.
"Plagued by floods in the
past, we didn't dare to buy dep furniture or electric appliances,
let alone decorate our houses, for fear that everything would be washed
away," recalled Wang.
changed for the better since the local government organized the
relocation of residents from flood persion areas as well as flood land
on a voluntary basis since 2010.
By the end of 2019, 380,000 residents had been resettled to give way to the river and embrace a new life.
Wang's new house is in the Huangwan Township, Fengyang County in Anhui Province, which is about 3 km from his previous home.
town where we live now has everything from a school and hospital to a
shopping mall and leisure square. We can finally settle down, decorate
our homes and earn a better living," said Wang, who made over 100,000
yuan in 2019 by doing business.
relocation, the local government is changing some flood persion areas
into flood-protected zones, so that people living inside can be free
from losses brought by floods.
reducing the number of flood persion areas, we are dredging the river
channel to increase water discharge and also improving the remaining
flood persion areas in an effort to build a more scientific, efficient
and humane flood control and disaster relief system," said Yang Feng,
an official with the Huaihe River Commission of the Ministry of Water