Skip to main content

China doubles Beijing flood death toll

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
updated 6:14 AM EDT, Fri July 27, 2012
A woman cleans mud from her home in the Fangshan district of Beijing, China, July 25, 2012. Fangshan suffered some of the worst damage after the heaviest rain in 60 years. A woman cleans mud from her home in the Fangshan district of Beijing, China, July 25, 2012. Fangshan suffered some of the worst damage after the heaviest rain in 60 years.
HIDE CAPTION
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
china flood fangshan
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in China
Flooding in Beijing
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Death toll from weekend flooding up to 77, Beijing officials said
  • Chief of Fangshan district apologizes for flood damage in Beijing district
  • Locals angered by precise figures on number of animals killed, Global Times reports
  • Heaviest rain in 60 years overwhelmed Beijing's water system

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Chinese authorities have more than doubled the official death toll from last weekend's flooding that swamped highways, homes and farms across the capital.

Officials from the Beijing flood control headquarters said late Thursday that 77 people died in the downpour, the worst in 60 years, up from the initial toll of 37 deaths announced Sunday, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The 66 victims who have been identified included five who were killed while carrying out rescue efforts, spokesman Pan Anjun said. Eleven bodies remained unidentified, he added.

Pan said a further sharp increase in the death toll was not likely because the search for missing people was winding down. He blamed the delay in updating the death toll on the time it took to recover the bodies and identify them.

Fury in Fangshan over flood damage
Why did water flood Beijing?
Could Beijing flood death toll rise?

The bodies of 38 people were found in the southwestern Beijing district of Fangshan, Xinhua reported, the area hardest hit by the floods.

On Wednesday, the district's chief issued a public apology to the 800,000 people affected by the floods in the area.

"We moved 65,000 people to the highlands. But there were still many flushed away by the flood. As the district chief, I should apologize to my fellow citizens," Qi Hong said in a news conference broadcast on state-run CCTV.

Qi conceded that the flooding exposed problems with the city's infrastructure.

"We learned from this rainstorm that the city infrastructure, especially the drainage system, needs to be improved," he said.

More rain forecast as Beijing mops up flood and comments

Around 170,000 farm animals were killed when floodwater covered 5,000 hectares of farmland, causing economic losses of 6.1 billion yuan ($955 million), Xinhua reported, citing a statement from the Fangshan district government.

Of the 66,000 homes that were damaged, more than 8,000 were demolished, the statement said. About 50 bridges and around 750 kilometers (466 miles) of road also have been wrecked, it added.

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu stressed Wednesday the need for more disaster relief efforts.

"We are now at a critical period for flood control, and every region and government department must attach more attention to combating floods and providing disaster relief," Hui said, according to Xinhua.

Beijing flood victims fume at official response

In the days following the deluge, Chinese micro-bloggers unleashed a torrent of criticism over the authorities' handling of the floods. They said they received little warning of the flood risk and questioned why the city's water system was unable to cope.

The Beijing-based media group, Caixin wrote: "Why is this happening once and again? Year after year Beijing faces the same challenge, not even hosting the Olympics can provide a solution. That's how vulnerable our capital city can be."

Another user, chuntiangushi, wrote: "We can host the most luxurious Olympics and send satellites into space but can never seem to fix this drainage system. What a shame."

On Wednesday, it appeared that the disaster may have claimed the jobs of two of the city's most senior officials. However, neither resignation of the Beijing mayor or vice mayor were officially linked to the flood response.

Observers said the resignations could be part of routine leadership reshuffle. Media reports said the city's legislature is now in session and its agenda includes appointments and dismissals.

CNN's Dayu Zhang and Steven Jiang contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:18 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
A top retired general has confessed to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in President Xi Jinping's war on corruption.
updated 1:07 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
A group in China escapes from a stuck elevator thanks to one man and his trusty hammer. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports.
updated 9:52 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Facebook's founder says he taught himself Mandarin and tested his skills with students in China.
updated 9:33 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
China launched an experimental spacecraft that is scheduled to orbit the moon before returning to Earth.
updated 12:19 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Full marks for ingenuity: This was a truly high-tech scam.
updated 1:26 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
The rationale behind Confucius Institutes -- an international chain of academic centers run by an arm of the Chinese government -- is understandable.
updated 11:11 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G wants everyone to know that he's not a foreign agitator trying to defy the Chinese Communist Party.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
updated 1:11 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
updated 11:15 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
updated 9:15 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
updated 10:54 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
updated 10:29 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
updated 7:25 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
 A man uses his smartphone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Only 53.5% of Japanese owned smartphones in March, according to a white paper released by the Ministry of Communications on July 15, 2014. The survey of a thousand participants each from Japan, the U.S., Britain, France, South Korea and Singapore, demonstrated that Japan had the fewest rate of the six; Singapore had the highest at 93.1%, followed by South Korea at 88.7%, UK at 80%, and France at 71.6%, and U.S. at 69.6% in the U.S. On the other hand, Japan had the highest percentage of regular mobile phone owners with 28.7%. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
updated 8:20 PM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
ADVERTISEMENT