China News reports that heavy rains have caused the worst floods in Sichuan Province in five decades, in areas still reeling from the devastation of 2008’s Wenchuan Earthquake (which killed 70,000 people) and this April’s Lushan Earthquake (which killed more than 200 and left tens of thousands homeless).
The above photo shows the ruins of Beichuan Grand Hotel, which was preserved as a earthquake memorial.
Heavy rains began on July 7, and the storm system stretched are far north as Beijing, affecting 146 townships and cities, triggering mudslides, flash floods, and structural collapses.
Officials say 16 have been killed by the flood, and 19 have been reported missing. State-run China Central Television said hundreds of people were trapped in a tunnel between Dujiangyan and Wenchuan. Southern Weekend reports that 12 have been killed in a collapsed coal mine workshop, and a memorial for earthquake victims have been completely flooded.
Residents in Chengdu (a city of 14 million) report flooding of up to two stories high.
More than 2,700 rescuers have been deployed to search for 12 cars that fell into Tongkou River after a bridge collapsed.
Many are using the #UrgentSearch tag on social media to locate loved ones who have gone missing.
Weibo users comment on the eerie coincidence between the historical flood and the removal of a water deity sculpture from Chengdu’s Tianfu Square earlier this year. China’s Army News reports that the stone rhinoceros may be been one of five that 3rd century B.C. engineer Li Bing buried under Chengdu, in the belief that it protected the city from floods.
Many more Chinese citizens took to the internet to thank those who have helped others in the disaster.