By Jane Lin & Quincy Yu | The Epoch Times
A massive rain storm hit Beijing on July 21, flooding the city. Beijing authorities claimed that 37 people had died as of 5 p.m. on July 22.
Chinese media reported, however, that people continued to recover dead bodies after the flood receded on Sunday. Despite this, the authorities did not update the death toll. Many flood victims posted messages and death reports on the Internet, and questioned the official number.
Chinese media also reported that traffic was disrupted; some roads and bridges were destroyed; and houses were flooded in 12 counties, including in towns in the hardest hit area of Fangshan District.
On July 22, a street in Nanhanji Village, Fangshan District, was filled with crying people who were desperately looking for their loves ones, or had already lost one or more family members, Southern Metropolis Daily reported.
One villager in Dongnanzhang Village, Fangshan District, told Southern Metropolis Daily that the villagers had collected 16 corpses from a river between July 22 and 23.
Ms. Gao, a resident from Louzishui Village, Fangshan District, told New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television that there are about 4,000 to 5,000 residents in her village and more than 37 people have died in her village, alone.
Based on this, she estimated that over 1,000 people in the many different villages in Fangshan have died. “So many cars were washed away by the flood. Many cars were retrieved with dead bodies inside,” she said.
The Epoch Times interviewed two residents from Shidu Village, Fangshan District, and one resident from Beijing. They all said the death toll is higher than the 37 claimed by officials.
Ms. Zhang from Shidu Village said, “It does not include the deaths in suburbs. Saying that there are only 37 deaths is a cover-up.”
She also said that in the region with the highest casualties in the Shidu Scenic Area, all the buildings were flooded and many tourists had died. “When the water receded, we found dozens of bodies washed down from there.”
Ms. Zhao, also from Shidu Village, said many dead bodies were washed down from further up the river. Many who survived the flood wrote about their ordeals on microblogs or Internet forums.
Blogger Wang Ji from Shidu Village wrote that, “Vehicles, boats, cattle, sheep, and pigs washed away by the flood were all over the streets,” and that he and his wife walked along the railway track for a day before they could get a taxi, noting, “The driver said at least 1,000 people have died.” http://t.qq.com/sunpolis
Many people complained about the authorities not taking quick action to come to their rescue.
Mr. Liu from Beijing told The Epoch Times that 40 to 50 employees from his company, including a pregnant woman, were trapped in a truck for three hours. Water inside and outside the company building was almost 2 meters (6.5 feet) deep, but they could not reach anyone by phone during the three hours.
“Many people died. I can’t tell exactly how many. I can’t bear to look at the tragic scenes. Those who died were trapped in a house and nobody rescued them,” Mr. Liu said.
Another blogger who went to Shidu on July 23 to help with rescue work wrote on his microblog, “Villagers said they have had no electricity or water for three days. So far the local authorities didn’t offer them any help.”
“Villagers said there were numerous deaths and injuries in the hardest hit area; there are still people trapped in there,” the blogger wrote.
Ms. Gao, the resident from Louzishui Village, Fangshan District, told NTD that the local authorities have not shown up to offer help to the villagers. “It was terrible,” Ms. Gao said. We were out of water for a whole day. But nobody cares about us.”
Beijing’s Party newspaper reported that Beijing Mayor and Party Secretary Guo Jinlong held an emergency meeting on the night of July 22, and told the city’s leaders to focus on relief work and stability maintenance, and to ensure stability in society in order to have a successful 18th Party Congress.
Radio France Internationale quoted a journalist from Beijing as saying that Beijing City’s Propaganda Department has ordered the media to report positive news and microblog service providers to strengthen censorship.
Guo’s remarks drew strong criticism from microbloggers. One blogger wrote that “the authorities did not do a good job, yet they worried about public outcry.” Another blogger wrote that, “Mayor Guo emphasized stability maintenance because he is worried that the flood might ruin his chance for earning a seat in the Party’s Politburo in the upcoming Party Congress.”
Independent writer Zhu Jianguo from Shenzhen told NTD that the authorities have again blocked people’s criticism and monitoring, and said, “the storm in Beijing will not drown Beijing. But people’s anger will. This is the true disaster.”
© Copyright 2012 The Epoch Times – Published at Set You Free News with license