Fight against floods test of governance

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To grasp how serious the floods are in the regions along the Yangtze River, one only has to look at the average precipitation from June 1 to July 7. At 346.9 millimeters, this has already surpassed that of the same period in 1998 and the historic and heroic fight against the floods along the Yangtze River. And the situation is likely to get worse as heavy rainstorms are forecast in the days to come. As of July 10, the deluge had already claimed 141 lives in 27 provincial level regions, with normal life of more than 33 million people having been affected and nearly 2 million residents evacuated from their homes. The water level of Poyang Lake in East China’s Jiangxi province, the largest fresh water lake in the country, is more than 2 meters above its warning line. It is predicted that some areas around the lake are likely to be flooded if the rainstorms continue. The province has already raised its warning level to from level two to level one. That means quite a number of areas in the province are at risk of serious flooding and governments need to make every effort to protect lives and property as President Xi Jinping has urged. The water in more than 200 rivers nationwide has been rising since July 4, and the national warning level has been raised to two from three. It should go without saying that local governments at all levels are facing an unprecedented test. Will they be able to mobilize and organize the local residents to do an effective job in reinforcing the dykes and levees? Will they be able to reasonably use the resources at their disposal to avert the possible collapse of dykes or timely evacuate residents to reduce the loss of human lives and damage to property to a minimum? In 1998, the People’s Liberation Army played an important role in helping local residents in their fights against the floods. Some PLA troops and armed police have already rushed to the rescue of local residents this year. But more should be organized to join the fight. Around-the-clock patrols need to be organized along threatened dykes to detect signs of impending collapse, and preparations must be made to have all links meticulously arranged so that timely and appropriate responses can be organized to deal with any contingencies. Any slip, error or negligence will likely be disastrous. Any government employees who fail to perform their duties in the fight against the flood should be held accountable and get due and swift punishment. A good job by a local government will boost the morale of residents and ensure the battle against the floods can be won. –CN