Major bummer. France 24 is reporting that the worst rains to hit the Chinese capital of Beijing in over 60 years have left over 30 dead and affected thousands more:
“The storm, which started on Saturday afternoon and continued late into the night, flooded major roads and sent torrents of water tumbling down steps into underpasses.
In the Beijing suburb of Tongzhou, two people died in a roof collapse and another person killed was struck by lightning, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Other deaths were caused by electric shocks from downed power lines and drowning, it added, without giving an exact breakdown.
More than 500 flights were cancelled at Beijing’s Capital International Airport, the Beijing News said.”
France 24 reports that many residents took to China’s popular microblogging site Sina Weibo to post dramatic pictures of the storm, with some complaining the city should have been prepared, especially as the government had issued a severe storm warning the day before.
For more analysis on why the city was caught so off-guard, we turn to the CBC, which notes that this is not the first PR disaster for the Chinese government in the past year:
“The city has seen tens of billions of dollars poured into its modernization, including iconic venues for the 2008 Olympics, the world’s second-largest airport, new subway lines and dazzling skyscrapers – all while basics like water drainage were apparently neglected.
Many were left wondering how badly prepared other less-prosperous parts of China must be.
‘If so much chaos can be triggered in Beijing, the capital of the nation, problems in urban infrastructure of many other places can only be worse,’ said a commentary in Monday’s state-run Global Times newspaper. ‘In terms of drainage technology, China is decades behind developed societies.’
The criticism mirrors some of that seen after a high-speed train crash that killed 40 people in Wenzhou in southeastern China a year ago Monday. That turned into a public-relations nightmare for the government and led many to question the quality of infrastructure in the country and the government’s transparency on disasters.”
Want more on China, France, America and the world beyond? Check out the Summer 2012 edition of Carnet Atlantique!