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article imageChina's flood season the worst since 1998, says state media

By Karen Graham     Jul 24, 2016 in Environment
The death toll from the torrential rains and flooding in northern China was compounded when some local officials tried to hide the deaths from Beijing. The tragedy didn't surface until Friday after angry locals took to social media.
The news of the tragedy got out to the world on Saturday after state media reported the torrential rains that began on Monday killed at least 154 people and left 124 missing.
Most of the deaths occurred in the northern province of Hebei after flooded streams triggered massive landslides and destroyed thousands of homes across the country. In Hebei, over 300,000 people ended up being evacuated, prompting a second appropriation of tents, blankets, rain boots, and generators.
Streams and rivers across China have left their banks in the torrential rains.
Streams and rivers across China have left their banks in the torrential rains.
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In Huludao City in western Liaoning, a total of 394 mm (15.5 inches) of rain was recorded by Thursday at noontime. The rains and resulting floods have also disrupted rail transportation, water supplies, and telecommunication services, according to Xinhua.net.
The tragedy in Hebei province was made worse because local officials allegedly failed to warn residents of the seriousness of the rains. On Wednesday morning, the Hebei Provincial Meteorological Bureau issued a red rainstorm alert, forecasting more heavy rains in the coming hours.
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In the meantime, also on Wednesday, the National Meteorological Center maintained its orange alert for rainstorms across the country. China has a four-tiered color-coded system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
But as the world has found out, it took until Friday before the full extent of the tragedy and the disastrous effects of the torrential rains and subsequent flooding came out, and this was due to people using social media.
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The online posts are gruesome, with pictures of drowned children lying in the mud, their bodies swollen and their skin pale. Others show the extensive damage to homes and crops. The "offending posts" were taken down by the government by Saturday, but not before the world was made aware of the horrible tragedy.
CNN is reporting that over 52,000 houses collapsed and an additional 161,000 were damaged, adding that according to state media, this year's flooding has been the worst since 1998, when as many as 4,000 people lost their lives.
More about China floods, online posts, Coverup, 89 million people, local authorities
 
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