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Central China fears new round of flooding

Rains and typhoon are over but threats still loom on the horizon, says priest

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

Published: July 13, 2016 11:52 AM GMT
Central China fears new round of flooding

A clothing store owner hangs out muddy clothes on July 10 in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Nepartak in a town in China's Fujian province. (Photo by AFP)

Central China is cleaning up after the devastation wrought by weeks of torrential rain and a super typhoon but the situation could be even worse if further torrential rain arrives, says a priest in Hubie province.

Wuhan, provincial capital of Hubei, was the hardest-hit by the rains and Super Typhoon Nepartak, which affected more than 32 million people along the swollen Yangtze River in 11 provinces.

The disaster has claimed over 170 lives and has been described as the worst flooding to hit the country since 1998.

Despite fine weather since the last storm, floodwater levels have only dropped by 40cm on average in flood affected areas.

The Hubei Provincial Meteorological Bureau predicted on July 12 that after Super Typhoon Nepartak, two more rainstorms would hit Hubei over the next 10 days.

"If there is another round of torrential rain, the disaster will be beyond imagination and could lead to dam collapse and that would jeopardize villages," said a Hubei priest who identified himself only as Father Joseph.

The priest described the current damage wrought on farmers in his area.

"Seedlings, sesames and soybeans were soaked and ruined," said Father Joseph.

"Fishermen lost their fish as ponds overflowed. They will get nothing from farming and will have to find jobs in the cities in the second half of the year," he said.

More priests told ucanews.com that churches in Xiaogan and Hanchuan villages were also flooded.

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Father Han Xiaoqing said that he and his parishioners had to sweep floodwater out of the compound continuously. "The parishioners are helpless. Their crops were ruined. But they know the church itself is poor and ask only for our prayers," said Father Han.

Father Wu Zhongping said: "Some Catholics organized their own prayer gathering for God's blessing. Their houses mostly have two floors. The first floor was flooded and they prayed on the second floor."

In Puqi Diocese, Father Wang Yanyang said that the main church suffered damages costing an estimated 60,000 yuan (about US$9,000) due to the flooding.

Experts from the National Climate Center believe the frequent occurrence of heavy rainfall and the flooding in the south this year is due to "El Nino" weather patterns.

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