Deadly floods cripple Guangdong rail service

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 August, 2013, 6:05am

Guangzhou Railway Station, a transportation hub for the south, has suspended all train services due to torrential rain and landslides, affecting at least 80,000 travellers so far.

Nationwide, the death toll rose to 57 yesterday after the mainland's northeast and southeast were hit by the worst flooding for decades.

Guangzhou Railway Group restored the damaged section of a rail artery linking Guangzhou and Beijing yesterday afternoon. Part of the rail link in northern Guangdong was cut by landslides on Friday evening due to downpours brought by Typhoon Utor.

But the railway company did not resume service along the line for safety concerns. Rail services to Beijing from other stations in the province - including Guangzhou East, Shenzhen and Dongguan - were also suspended yesterday and it was unclear when they would restart.

Trains from Guangzhou to other destinations were operating normally yesterday. The high-speed service between Beijing and Guangzhou as well as Wuhan and Guangzhou were unaffected.

More than 10,000 travellers were stranded on Saturday at Guangzhou Railway Station, where the ticket hall was packed with frustrated people waiting in long lines for refunds. Hundreds of people were forced to spend the night in a square outside the train station, enduring occasional downpours.

By noon yesterday, 20 people had died and seven were missing in Guangdong province as a result of the weather, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said. More than four million Guangdong residents were affected and 510,000 were evacuated.

The Southern Metropolis Daily reported that a train from Guangzhou to Xiangyang, Hubei province, was damaged in a landslide on Friday evening near Shaoguan, a mountainous region in northern Guangdong. One passenger was buried as debris flooded into the carriage. He was pulled out alive with a broken arm. Three other passengers had minor injuries.

Some Guangdong regions reported rainfall levels rarely seen in local history, the Guangzhou Daily reported. A township in Huidong county received 928.3mm of rain in 24 hours from Friday, about 1.5 times Beijing's yearly precipitation.

In the northeast, Liaoning reported 12 flood-related deaths yesterday, bringing the death toll in the northeast to 37. The Fushun city government said 32 people went missing on Friday and Saturday.

Floods hit a residential compound in Jilin on Friday, killing 14. Heilongjiang reported 11 flood-related deaths.