7 days of downpour in Hainan, 544 villages inundated by floodwaters
More than 100,000 people were stranded after floods triggered by continuous rains inundated Wanning City in southern China's island province of Hainan, local authorities said Wednesday.
As of 5 p.m., 98,000 people had been evacuated in Wanning — reported to be the center of the floods in the island — after a week of heavy rains, said an official at the municipal government.
Economic losses in the city has been estimated at 500 million yuan (about 74.6 million U.S. dollars) and is believed to have affected more than 357,700 people, the official added.
Torrential rains have battered many areas of Hainan for six days. Several cities, including the provincial capital of Haikou and the beach resort of Sanya, have also suffered flooding. The four cities of Qionghai, Wanning, Ding'an and Haikou were most seriously hit. Parts of the island received an average 324.7 mm of rainfall.
Previous reports said that as of early Wednesday, 64,360 residents had been evacuated from their homes, as floodwaters inundated 544 villages. About 12,682 people were evacuated in Haikou, 24,497 in Waning, 6,942 in Qionghai, 4,667 in Sanya as well as more than 6,000 people in Wenchang, Lingshui and Ledong.
In southeast Hainan's Lingshui county, 5,700 villagers were evacuated due to the floods and landslides, and has caused economic losses of 113 million yuan (around 16.89 million U.S. dollars).
Still, rescuers are struggling to reach at least 6,000 people after floods submerged more than 200 villages.
After initially containing the floodwaters, a major reservoir on the Wanquan river was forced to discharge water Tuesday night as its levels had become unacceptably high, resulting in the flooding of several villages, officials from the flood control headquarters in Qionghai city in the east of the island said Wednesday.
Rescuers had not yet reached those stranded by the flooding, a spokesman at the headquarters said.
More than 1,000 soldiers and policemen have been dispatched to join the rescue work in Qionghai and Wanning.
Navigation across the Qiongzhou Strait, however, resumed after wind speeds had decreased by 6 p.m. Wednesday. Ship services between the island and the mainland had been suspended since Sunday, a spokesman with Haikou Municipal Maritime Safety Administration said.
All stranded passenger vehicles had now been dispersed, according to Chen Xinxian, vice-manager of Hikou Xiuying Passenger Ships Company.
But highway traffic in the eastern part of the province remains paralyzed.
Hainan Island is a famous tropical tourist resort and attracts millions of visitors every year. However, tourist numbers were reported to be down by nearly 50 percent Wednesday, the sixth day of the one-week holiday celebrating National Day on Oct. 1.
Ten tourist resorts received more than 26,000 tourists Wednesday, while other resorts stopped business for the safety of the tourists, said an official with the provincial government.
The floods also damaged 7,420 hectares of crops and destroyed another 2,260 hectares, according to the provincial civil affairs department.
The rains are expected to weaken but continue until the end of the seven-day holiday, an official at the provincial meteorological observatory said Wednesday.
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