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RFA: Without Warning, 18 Reservoirs Released Flood Water after Midnight; Many Died in Their Sleep

According to Radio Free Asia, on July 22, 2016, Hebei Province officials in Shijiazhuang, Handan, Xingtai, Baoding opened the gates of 18 reservoirs to release flood water without any warning. Netizens said on the Internet: Flooding in Xingtai is a man-made disaster. The Xingtai government opened the reservoir gates to release water at 2:00 am without any warning. Many villagers, at least over 50 people at that time, drowned in their sleep. Many children drowned. The Xingtai government did not provide any aid, and no electricity was available. The government has also censored flood related information.

An RFA reporter interviewed one villager in Daxian Village, Dongwang Township, Xingtai City on July 22, 2016. The villager said that the local government officials did not give any warning ahead of time. Villagers posted flood information on the Internet, but since then, all of it has been deleted. No one knew that the government was going to release the flood water from the reservoirs. Therefore, they did not prepare in any way. In his village alone, nine villagers died in the flood. The drowned villagers were all seniors and children. The government has not provided any aid. The villagers have had to help each other.

In the afternoon on July 22, flood victims in Xingtai protested the government’s news censorship. A large number of special police intercepted protestors and arrested some villagers.

Source: Radio Free Asia, July 22, 2016