Across China: Fighting floods on a sandbank in Yangtze River

Updated: 2020-07-31

  NANCHANG, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Mei Junzhou walks along the Jiangxinzhou North Embankment to check for any leakage. If he can mitigate the risk of leakage as soon as possible, it will make the village safer.

  "I have been fighting the floods here for a while," said Mei, 68. Since July, Mei has been on duty at the No. 85 station along the embankment, keeping an eye over the floodwater level and patrolling the embankment to prevent any possible leaks. He walks around the dike every day.

  Mei is a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and before he retired, he was an official in Hougeng Village in Jiangxinzhou of Jiujiang City, east China's Jiangxi Province.

  Jiangxinzhou is a township-level settlement on a large sandbank along the country's longest waterway, the Yangtze River. Covering an area of 127 square km, it is home to about 42,000 people.

  China has entered its rainy season. Since June, continuous downpours have lashed large parts of southern China, and the waters of many rivers in the affected regions have exceeded warning levels.

  The northern part of Jiangxi Province has experienced heavy downpours since July 6, with water rising significantly in local rivers and lakes.

  In order to deal with dangerous situations promptly, 171 flood-preventing stations have been set up around the embankment in Jiangxinzhou, with more than 1,500 CPC members and local residents on duty every day.

  Each station has been built on the edge of the dam. A warning sign hung on the wall asks patrol personnel to be more vigilant during the following time periods: dawn, night, during shifts, meals and downpours, and when floods recede.

  "Around dinner time on July 11, the water level at the Yangtze exceeded the guaranteed mark of 22.4 meters, posing a grave danger to the nearby village," Mei said. "The floodwater was rising, and I found a leak on the rear surface of the embankment. I sent for experts immediately."

  After about an hour of effort, the experts managed to block the leakage.

  "If I discovered the leakage one hour late, the embankment would be in danger," Mei added.

  The No. 85 station is the most dangerous post in Jiangxinzhou because the floodwater is diverted in that location. The levee there faces the most violent waves. Since July, Mei Junzhou seldom sleeps before 2 a.m.

  Many other Party members are also working day and night to safeguard the islet from floods.

  The most critical point befell on the rainy night of July 11 when the water level rose to 22.81 meters after midnight. Soldiers and local residents continued to carry heavy sandbags to strengthen the embankment.

  "I believe, protecting the dam is just like protecting our homeland," Mei said.

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