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October 10, 2013

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After the deluge: City trying to get back to normal

SOME city roads were still flooded yesterday, after Shanghai experienced its heaviest rainfall in more than half a century earlier this week.

Parts of suburban Songjiang District and downtown Putuo District were still flooded as high tide in the Huangpu River disrupted work to drain floodwater.

In worst-affected Sijing Town in Songjiang, where water was above knee level, some residents were using inflatable boats to get around yesterday.

And in Putuo, part of Qilianshan Road remained closed as it was still submerged.

Rain spawned by two typhoons combined with a high tide in the Huangpu River to bring chaos to parts of the city on Monday and Tuesday.

Some areas recorded 200 millimeters of rain as Shanghai experienced its it highest rainfall in 52 years between Monday night and noon on Tuesday.

“Water cannot be drained effectively in these low places because the tide levels of surrounding creeks and the Huangpu River remains high,” said Zhang Zhenyu, a press officer with the Shanghai flood control authority.

The level of the Huangpu River rises twice daily with the tide. When this happens, workers must close dams at tributaries and halt drainage efforts to prevent river water pouring back, explained Zhang.

Staff have only four hours a day to drain the water, he added.

But Zhang said the water could still be drained by early this morning.

Work has also been taking place to repair flood damage.

Workers yesterday reinforced sections of two floodwalls along the Huangpu River in Songjiang and Jinshan districts that collapsed on Tuesday night.

There is no danger despite the Huangpu River remaining at the alert level in the suburbs, Zhang told Shanghai Daily.

Part of the city’s drainage system has been overwhelmed since early Tuesday. Songjiang, Fengxian, Baoshan, Jiading, Minhang and Putuo districts and Chongming County recorded the highest rainfall.

Meanwhile, 70 city parks that were closed due to the rainstorm reopened yesterday, after water was drained and trees blown down by gales removed.

It also emerged yesterday that more than 100 vehicles in a flooded underground garage in suburban Jiading District will have to be scrapped.

“Most of the cars have been in the water for more than 50 hours and can’t be repaired,” an official with the property management authority of the Jindi City Community said. Staff drained water from the garage yesterday.

Among those also affected by the storms were vegetables growers and online retailers.

Local vegetable prices shot up yesterday as some 130 square kilometers of vegetables were flooded in the rainstorm.

“The city’s agricultural authorities are helping farmers to harvest their vegetables to ensure supplies,” the agricultural committee said.

Prices increased by some 15 percent in the Punan Agricultural Products Wholesale Market in worst-affected Songjiang.

“Vegetable prices will keep rising for another 10 days due to the huge damage to fields and crops,” said Yu Xin, an official with the market.

Courier delivery services have also been hit across the Yangtze Delta region due to the combined pressures of huge online shopping during the National Day holiday and traffic disruptions caused by the weather.

Local courier firms said parcels would be delayed for several days.



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