Beijing [China], September 1 (ANI): In order to shelter Chinese President Xi Jinping's pet project 'Xiong'an' from extreme weather, the country's province Heibei and its nearby regions witnessed massive devastation, The Washington Post reported.
Xiong'an is a pet project of Xi Jinping, who has said that it would be a "city of the future" - a "socialist modern metropolis" far beyond Western capitals' imagination.
When Typhoon Doksuri pounded northern China this month, dropping the most rain on Beijing, it wasn't just the capital that was in jeopardy. The inclement weather also put Xiong'an New Area, a gigantic development more than twice the size of New York City, in a problematic situation as well.
The Chinese authorities reacted quickly, promising to safeguard the capital and Xiong'an, which has been under construction for the past six years, at all costs.
Beginning July 30, authorities began utilising a network of dams and reservoirs to dump water from overflowing rivers into seven designated flood zones in Hebei, the province that surrounds Beijing. It was the region's largest flood-control effort in 60 years, The Washington Post reported.
The Washington Post acquired visual evidence and firsthand testimonies that, while the endeavour diverted water away from Xiong'an and other metropolitan areas, it directly contributed to the devastation of rural communities in Hebei.
Excessive flooding destroyed homes and livelihoods.
In fact, more than 20 square kilometres of farmland near Xiong'an's high-speed railway station were still underwater on August 5 in one of the clearest examples.
The notion that rural areas are better prepared to bear the brunt of flooding stems back to the 1950s and 1960s when the majority of the country's flood zones- areas intentionally inundated to absorb excess water - were established. However, such locations are not as thinly populated as they once were, The Washington Post said in its report.
Despite restrictions intended to limit the number of residents living in flood zones, local governments have enabled communities in designated flood zones to flourish.
Some residents interviewed by The Post said they were unaware they were in flood storage zones.
Others claimed that government flood control personnel failed to alert them before their homes were submerged and all of their valuables were destroyed.
More than a million people were relocated from their houses in China's Hebei province following a catastrophic storm earlier. Massive flooding stranded inhabitants, and washed away bridges and highways.
Many of those evacuated in Hebei, an industrial and agricultural centre that is home to many of Beijing's commuters, were forced to abandon their homes in areas where officials discharged pent-up floodwaters that had overflowed reservoirs and rivers. (ANI)