Workers in northeast China toiled yesterday to clean up the mess left by severe flooding that killed four people, forced 250,000 out of their homes and left parts of a city in North Korea under water.
Heavy downpours last week swelled the Yalu River, which forms part of the border between China and North Korea, to dangerously high levels, sending water spilling over its banks on both sides, inundating homes, roads and farmland.
North Korean state media has said leader Kim Jong-Il ordered an emergency military rescue operation in the city of Sinuiju, where 5,000 people were relocated after areas were “completely inundated.”
Authorities in the Chinese border city of Dandong said it would take several days to clear mud and debris, but new storms forecast for later this week threatened to complicate their efforts.
“The flood has receded and the clean-up operation is going on,” an official at the Dandong flood control headquarters said on condition of anonymity. “We can finish the cleaning up in two or three days.”
Another city official said most of the 94,000 evacuated from the city center were taken to schools and other shelters, or had gone to stay with relatives. A total of 253,000 people were evacuated across Liaoning Province.
A couple in their 70s and a mother and son died in Kuandian County, about 100km northeast of Dandong, when flash floods swept away their homes, Xinhua news agency said, citing a local official.
A 60-year-old man was also missing in Kuandian, state media said.
A flood control official in Dandong said the water level on the Yalu had “dropped below the warning line” and some people had returned to their homes, adding that the number of casualties was still being calculated.
In North Korea, parts of Sinuiju and communities near the border were submerged, the state Korean Central News Agency reported. Traffic in Sinuiju was “paralyzed” and flood victims were stranded on rooftops and on hills, it said.
Much of the North’s trade with the world passes through the city.
Meanwhile, authorities in Gansu Province on Sunday called off rescue efforts for 330 people still missing after an Aug. 8 mudslide tore through Zhouqu County, killing 1,435 people, Xinhua said.
The Zhouqu government forbade digging in the debris, fearing that recovering corpses buried for two weeks would spread disease.
In related news, authorities on Hainan were bracing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Mindulle, which could make landfall early today, packing winds of up to 90kph. Heavy rain was expected to pound the island for three days.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable