On Oct. 12, a week after severe flooding in Shanxi province, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities finally announced that 15 people had died, more than 1.75 million people had been affected, and more than 120,000 people were forced to flee their homes as a result of the flooding.
But, netizens in Shanxi revealed on Weibo that the death toll in one of their counties had already exceeded 15. Authorities were also silent concerning the fact that the disaster was caused by flooding a reservoir upstream from the affected communities. Many affected areas in Shanxi are still submerged in deep water, and hundreds of thousands of victims remain homeless and have no way to make ends meet.
According to the official media, the heavy rainfall in Shanxi affected 1,757,100 people in 76 county’s and 11 cities. Fifteen people died, three were missing, 120,100 people were urgently relocated, 3,576,900 mu of crops were affected, 19,500 houses collapsed, 18,200 homes were severely damaged, and the direct economic loss was 5.029 billion yuan (US$781.5 million).
A post titled, “15 people killed by heavy rainfall in Shanxi” trended on Chinese social media platform, Weibo, but was quickly taken down.
The official media, local media, and self-media reported that the severe flooding in Shanxi was caused by the sudden and unannounced release of reservoirs upstream. Many of the releases were done secretly at night, threatening people’s safety downstream and causing more damage.
Shanxi netizens revealed on Weibo that the actual death toll was much higher than the official figure; “This hot search surprised me, and if I wasn’t from Shanxi, I might have sighed a little. But a dozen people died in our small county! That’s more than the so-called ‘death toll’ reported! How can this be the case? The ‘number of deaths’ is more than the so-called ‘death toll’ in the report!”
Disaster relief announced but is not enough
It was reported on Oct. 10 that Shanxi Province has issued an emergency disaster relief fund valued at 50 million yuan (US$7.767 million). Twenty million yuan (US$3.107 million) has been set aside for the emergency transfer and resettlement of affected people. The allocated funds are also to be used for transitional livelihood assistance, restoration and reconstruction of damaged houses, and payment of consolation to the families of people who died in the disaster.
An additional 20 million yuan (US$3.107 million) was pledged to support the drainage of farmland in the most affected areas, as well as the repair of damaged farmland water conservancy facilities, and the procurement of agricultural production materials required for the work. Ten million yuan (US$1.553 million) was set aside for the repair of water-damaged projects and facilities.
Netizens calculated that 1.75 million people were affected by the disaster, and 20 million yuan (US$1.553 million) was spent on the resettlement of the affected people, an average of less than 12 yuan (US$1.86) per person.
Shanxi netizens expressed anger online, “they do not treat us Shanxi people as human beings!”
According to reports, on Oct. 11, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management of the CCP made an emergency allocation of 80 million yuan (US$12.428 million) to Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces for natural disaster relief.
Netizens mocked, “One yuan for each of the two provinces. The Ministry of Finance is too generous!”
Several villages flooded
On Oct. 7, due to the impact of continuous heavy rainfall and the release of the Wenyu River reservoir, the water level of the Wenyu River, the Magyao River, and parts of the Fen River in Xiaoyi city continued to rise. Flooding and backflow occurred.
Small Ohta, Lu Nan, Wulou Zhuang, South Xiaobao, South Boathead, and another 14 villages along the river flooded affecting 35,000 people, more than 60 enterprises, and more than 60,000 mu of arable land. Livestock was also affected by the disaster. The flooding forced the relocation of more than 15,000 people.