China’s disaster relief authorities issue safety warnings during return travel for May Day holidays

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

 China’s National Committee for Disaster Reduction has issued an emergency notice recently to require all relevant departments to make comprehensive efforts to thoroughly investigate and address the hidden risks of disasters in infrastructure such as highways during the flood season.

The notice emphasizes the need to focus on areas with sustained large-scale rainfall and in northern regions with heavy precipitation, highlighting key areas such as highways, railway lines, and tourist attractions to comprehensively conduct risk identification and rectification, China Central Television reported on Saturday. 

For highways, particular attention should be paid to key areas such as high slopes, large embankments, sharp bends, steep slopes, and sections adjacent to water bodies, especially those with sandy soil foundations, to check for safety hazards such as loose foundations, collapses, subsidence, and water accumulation.

Local authorities in Meizhou, Guangdong Province, said during a media briefing on Thursday that 48 people lost their lives after a section of a highway collapsed early on Wednesday morning. The collapse trapped 23 cars under nearly 18 meters of road, covering approximately 184 square meters. The briefing also disclosed that 30 individuals were injured in the incident.

The Guangdong provincial government has established a disaster investigation and assessment team, led by the governor and the causes of the disaster are under investigation, local media outlet reported on Saturday.

The National Committee for Disaster Reduction also said in the notice that for bridges and tunnels, special attention should be given to inspecting safety hazards such as bridge foundations, culvert entrances and exits, flood prevention facilities in low-lying areas, and tunnel walls. Also, for railway lines, special attention should be given to inspecting risks of disasters such as flash floods, mudslides and landslides.

For tourist attractions, particular attention should be given to inspecting safety hazards such as large-scale amusement facilities, flash flood channels, rock collapses, and loose mountain slopes, according to the notice.

The committee also said personnel involved in hazard identification should be properly trained. Efforts should also be made to address technical challenges through scientific and technological research.

The reward system for public reporting and whistleblowing should be improved, and various methods should be adopted to encourage public participation in the identification, investigation, and supervision of hazards, said the notice. 

Beginning on Saturday, there will be a surge in return travel for the May Day holidays across different regions, resulting in heavy traffic on expressways and major national and provincial highways. In addition to the National Committee for Disaster Reduction, the Traffic Management Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security also issued a notice on Saturday, urging all drivers and passengers to stay vigilant and keep a close eye on road conditions and weather forecasts.

According to the forecast by the China Meteorological Administration, from Friday to Sunday, during the latter part of the May Day holiday, there will be widespread heavy rainfall and severe convective weather phenomena in regions such as the central and eastern regions of Guizhou, South China and other areas.

Global Times 


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