08/09/2023, 19.47
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Typhoon Doksuri: Catholic charities close to people affected by floods

by Alessandra Tamponi

So far, at least 30 people have died while a million and a half have been displaced. Hebei province was badly hit because of control zones that allow water to be diverted from the most populated cities. Catholic parishes bring direct aid.


Beijing (AsiaNews) – Typhoon Doksuri has brought torrential rains  to several provinces in northern China, the worst in the six decades, with more than 30 deaths and a million and a half forced from their homes.

The typhoon, which made landfall on 28 July, caused an estimated US$ 14.7 billion in damages and economic losses, directly affecting nearly three million people in Fujian, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, and Guangdong provinces.

In response to the disaster, several charities, some linked to the Chinese Catholic Church, have provided relief to the residents of the most affected areas. In case of natural disasters in China, charities are often the first to act.

The northeast – Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province – reported the most damage from overflowing waterways in the Hai River Basin, which covers more than 318,000 square kilometres.

Chinese flood regulations provide for channelling flood waters into control zones in the event they exceed the safe limits of reservoirs.

More than 80 of such zones can be found across the country, with 13 in Hebei province alone. By flooding control zones to drain water, the province was able to ease the pressure on the densely populated cities of Beijing and Tianjin.

Earlier this month, Hebei's Emergency Management Department activated seven of these zones, diverting more than a billion cubic metres of floodwater.

Although this eased the situation around the capital, it made things worse for the residents of the province. Out of an estimated one and a half million people forced to abandon their homes, almost one million were displaced due to the opening of the control zones, with water coming mostly from the city of Baoding.

Two of the province's 13 zones are near the city of Zhuozhou, and many residents were unaware that they were living in a control zone, Reuters reports.

Several charities took action to help residents caught in the mess.

Jinde Public Welfare, for example, bought 20 generators and necessities like food and linen for residents of Yi County, Baoding Municipality, while the Diocese of Beijing donated hundreds of instant noodles packets and drinking water to victims in Fanliandeng, a village near Zhuozhou.

The parish of Langfang Gu'an Hanjiazhuang delivered disinfectant, food, water and other goods to residents of Fan Liandeng. The parish chief and members of his community actively participated in the rescue, while the members of the Church of Gaobeidian took in people who fled Zhuozhou to avoid the worst of the disaster.

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