Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Flooding and Cleanup Along the Xiang River in Hengyang

Flooding caused by recent heavy rains has led to at least 37 deaths in southern China. The Wall Street Journal posted a slide show showing some of the rain's impact in Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, and Fujian provinces.

The rain has been heavy at times in Hengyang, Hunan province, but I haven't noticed anything calamitous in the central urban area where I have spent most of my time. Flooding has been easy to see, though, along the Xiang River (also called the Xiangjiang River).

partially submerged trash container near a partially submerge stone railing
The stone railing was completely submerged at one point.

The river never came close to overflowing the nearby streets in this part of Hengyang, but it did rise high enough to submerge at least one adjacent lower-level pedestrian area. The water has been receding, but this area remains underwater. So instead of this:

people one a stone railing next to the Xiang River in Hengyang
Signs of earlier flooding are evident.

... today cleanup operations were underway to remove silt and other debris.

workers sweeping silt away from a submerged pedestrian area
Didn't look easy

I briefly met part of the cleanup team, and many of them appeared to be proud of their work. One person even asked me to take a group photograph.

Ten workers, some with brooms made from tree branches, posing for a photograph
The second woman from the right made the request.

They probably don't get as much positive attention as they should. But their work will mean the flooding's effects here will soon be forgotten, and people will be able to once again enjoy not working next to the river.

people sitting on a stone railing next to the Xiang River at night
A more typical scene at the riverside pedestrian area

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