|News Reports (In
Fever follows floods
Fever follows floods
[Lateline News (lateline.muzi.net): 9/11/98]
Fever spread by rats is threatening flood victims huddled in overcrowded mainland refugee camps whereinfectious diseases are spreading, relief officials said Thursday.
Millions of peasants have been left homeless by the worst floods in China since 1954 and although flood waters are nowretreating, disease is advancing.
Rodents scurrying to higher ground along with humans were spreading hemorrhagic fever, an untreatable viral disease,Red Cross official Sun Baiqiu said.
Ms Sun, vice-president of the Red Cross Society of China, said cases of the sometimes fatal disease were rising.
She said other diseases were also menacing refugee populations, and warned that ``the danger of large-scale epidemicoutbreaks still exists''.
``In the north the crucial problem people face is how to pass the winter. Because of the low temperatures, a lot of peopleare already suffering from flu and pneumonia,'' Ms Sun said.
During bitter winters in China's north and northeast, temperatures often plummet to minus 30 degrees Celsius.
Cotton tents that provided adequate shelter for displaced flood victims during summer months ``won't be good enough for thewinter'', Ms Sun said.
The Red Cross and other relief organisations have delivered quilts and clothes to victims, while Beijing has mainly providedshelter.
Kingsley Gee, the World Health Organisation's chief representative in Beijing, called the variation of hemorrhagic fevercommon to China ``quite nasty.''
``It can lead to bleeding into the internal tissues, and is fatal in 5 per cent of cases,'' he said.
Along the Yangtze river in central China, Ms Sun said there were small outbreaks of cholera, and leptospirosis - a bacterialdisease spread by livestock and dirty water.
Cases of snail fever, have also been reported along the Yangtze. [Reuters]
Worst over as eighth Yangtze crest passes
[Lateline News (lateline.muzi.net): 9/2/98]
The end appears to be in sight for the catastrophic flooding along the Yangtze and Songhua rivers in thenortheast, flood control authorities said yesterday.
The Yangtze's eighth flood crest passed through the vulnerable Jingjiang section in Hubei province without causing damage, leaving water levels receding at all points.
Flood diversions at the Gezhouba hydropower projectand two other reservoirs helped to relieve the pressure exerted by the flood crest on waterlogged dykes further downstream, including those along Jingjiang and at Wuhan.
"The eighth flood peak on the Yangtze will reach Wuhan [today or tomorrow], but it will have lost much of its strength by then," said Wu Shiwei, senior engineer at the Wuhan flood control centre.
"There should not be any more flood peaks along the Yangtze this year, although we are still facing problems in Wuhan with the Han River," he said.
The crest passed Shashi at 2pm on Monday, where the water level rose to 44.41 metres, more than half a metre below the danger level.
The water level at Wuhan stood at 28.97 metres at 3.30pm yesterday, still higher than the danger level but receding.
Meanwhile, water levels at Harbin and Jiamusi along the Songhua River have dropped steadily below danger levels.
Early last month, dykes that had burst upstream from Wuhan significantly increased flood concerns in the industrial city of seven million and prompted President Jiang Zemin to order troops and civilians to guarantee its safety.
As waters continued to rise, local officials evacuated 335,000 people for a possible flood diversion at Jingjiang to reduce pressure on Wuhan.
While that diversion did not take place, smaller plains in Jianli county - 220km from Wuhan - were flooded, leading to the evacuation of more than 115,000 people.
Their homes remain under 10 metres of water.
Even in Wuhan the swollen Yangtze has taken its toll, flooding large tracts near the airport and closing the airport expressway. [SCMP]