Floods in Beijing region without electricity and drinking water

Mentougou, China.- On the banks of a river west of Beijing, Chen Xiaoyuan, 50, is clearing debris from a bridge leading to his village ahead of the devastating floods that have ravaged the region in recent days.

Clean-up efforts on the banks of the Yongding River continued on Thursday after Beijing and neighboring Hebei Province hit their worst rains in years. The storm killed at least 20 people, destroyed infrastructure and flooded entire neighborhoods.

In Chenjiazhuang village west of the capital on Monday, torrents uprooted trees and hurled large amounts of debris, which collapsed a busy bridge, Chen told AFP.

“I’ve never seen anything like it here, not even in 2012,” when another flood in the Chinese capital killed 79 people.

His house remained without water and electricity, although there was no flooding. Others weren’t so lucky. Chen Xiaoyuan claims one of his former schoolmates has been reported missing and may have been washed away.

army and watermelon

In the city of Shuiyuzui (5 kilometers from Chenjiazhuang), the flood water destroyed the wall surrounding the city and invaded the houses.

At the entrance to the village, the fallen cables were laid on tree trunks so that lifeguards could bring food and water to residents without the risk of electrocution.

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Some residents struggle in the murky water, which can be waist-deep. When moving, many people carry their belongings with them in bags.

Dozens of large military vehicles are lined up on the outskirts highway to take part in relief and repair efforts.

The rain gave way to sweltering heat, and between clean-ups, some residents near the destroyed bridge are eating watermelon.

“There’s Nothing Left”

About a hundred meters upstream, landslides threw huge chunks of earth and rock onto two railroad tracks.

To fix one, the teams brought bulldozers and other equipment up the mountainside.

A rescuer watches the scene above a pile of rubble.

A 43-year-old resident, identified only as Ma, points to the spot where the landslide occurred and said she returned “to get some things” while temporarily living elsewhere.

“There is nothing in our house anymore. Neither water nor electricity,” he says.

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