Recent flooding in China has killed at least 241 people and displaced more than 1 million. Chinese officials have been accused of underreporting the deaths after the government’s flood control agency said that just 165 were killed by floods last week. The death toll is still rising, but with many residents unable to find food or shelter, a spotlight was shone on local governments’ ability to deal with disaster relief efforts lead by Beijing for over half a century.
The “where in china is the flooding” is a question that has been asked many times. China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs released a statement saying that local officials underreported deaths in the flood.
China’s central government admitted that authorities deliberately underreported the number of people who died or went missing in catastrophic floods in Henan province in July, a rare admission of officials hiding the exact death toll in a catastrophe.
The State Council, China’s highest government body, said in a statement posted late Friday on the main government website that local officials in Henan either concealed or delayed the recording of more than 100 cases of people who died or went missing, with some officials “intentionally obstructing” the reports. A number of officials would face disciplinary action, according to the report.
According to a report released on Friday, 398 individuals have been verified killed or are still missing as a result of the floods, the majority of whom are in Zhengzhou, the province capital. Chinese police reported 302 confirmed fatalities in August, with 50 individuals still missing.
The State Council didn’t say how many deaths or cases of missing people were reported for the first time on Friday, but it did say that officials in Zhengzhou, who were supposed to make daily reports of casualties, had hidden or delayed reporting 139 cases of deaths and missing people at various stages, according to the statement.
The announcement came after a months-long probe by the State Council and considerable skepticism about the exact death toll after about a year’s worth of rain fell in three days on Zhengzhou in late July.
Locals commented online about their lost loved ones in the weeks after the floods, particularly those whose family members were thought to be among the victims trapped in a flooded subway train or highway tunnel. Many residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the official mortality toll.
At a metro station in Zhengzhou, there is a tribute to flood victims. Fourteen passengers died after being trapped aboard a flooded metro train.
The number of people killed on a subway train stranded during rush hour on July 20 was not increased by Friday’s report. On the train, there were over 500 people, 14 of whom perished.
Initially, six persons were reported to have perished in the water-filled highway tunnel that trapped roughly 250 automobiles; however, the figure has since been revised to eight.
After Friday’s revelation, one Zhengzhou resident, who had expressed questions about the death toll, suggested on the Twitter-like Weibo site that the authorities should post the names of the missing or dead on social media. “Without the identities, the statistics are simply empty numbers,” stated the resident in his message, identifying himself as a young guy.
Local officials were blamed in Friday’s report for failing to respond to extreme weather conditions in a timely manner, according to the report, which claimed they ignored days of warnings from weather authorities and didn’t activate an emergency response mechanism until after the majority of casualties had already occurred.
The State Council said, “There was an evident gap between the response system and the weather prediction releases.”
Flooding caused by heavy rains in central China flooded subways and forced 100,000 people to migrate. Henan province is a significant industrial hub and home to one of the world’s largest iPhone production facilities. Getty Images/AFP/AFP/AFP/AFP/AFP/AFP/AFP/AFP/AFP/AFP (Video taken on 8/2/21)
The police have arrested eight officials, including those in charge of the subway line and highway tunnel construction, while another 89 officials are facing Communist Party disciplinary action, according to the State Council.
“It’s finally being revealed,” one social media commentator remarked following the revelation. It is hoped that it would provide solace to the bereaved and closure to the surviving.”
Since the 2003 SARS epidemic, when Chinese authorities were accused of concealing the real number of illnesses, Chinese leaders have issued repeated warnings to officials not to conceal or delay reporting of fatalities and cases.
Premier Li Keqiang reiterated the warning in the early days of the Covid-19 epidemic in Wuhan, the pandemic’s initial epicenter, amid allegations that local authorities had blocked local physicians’ attempts to reveal an outbreak.
There have been suspicions that fatalities were underreported during the turmoil of the Wuhan epidemic, when hospitals were overburdened and testing was slow. Doctors informed one lady in Wuhan that Covid-19 most likely killed her father, but he was never properly diagnosed or included in the official number of cases, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Liyan Qi can be reached at [email protected]
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China has said that local officials underreported the number of deaths in flooding. China’s State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters released a report claiming that 3,000 people died during the floods. Reference: central china flooding 2021.
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