Shenzhen residents slam authorities after city paralysed by floods

Drainage system called into question after heaviest downpour in six years causes chaos and an estimated 80 million yuan in damage

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 3:49am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 11:48am

Shenzhen residents have criticised the city's drainage system after floods paralysed the city.

Authorities said up to 430mm of rain fell on Sunday, the heaviest downpour in six years, and caused about 80 million yuan (HK$100 million) in damage.

The flooding had eased by midnight on Sunday but thousands of passengers were stranded yesterday at Shenzhen North station until 3pm after dozens of high-speed trains were cancelled when a landslide damaged tracks at Guangming New Zone.

An early-morning train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong was also cancelled, according to the MTR Corp. Twelve trains between the cities were cancelled due to Sunday's floods.

In Shenzhen, the flooding spurred criticism of the drainage system among residents, especially as the city had spent more than 300 billion yuan on infrastructure upgrades for the Universiade 2010 sporting event.

"The situation of the sewers reflects the real quality of the city's infrastructure," said Ray Cai, whose car got stranded. "The Shenzhen government should feel ashamed to call it one of China's most developed cities. A world-class metropolis by 2020? Please forget this dream."

Watch: Shenzhen hit by worst flooding in six years

According to the Shenzhen Water Affairs Bureau, the city was to spend 32.8 billion yuan between 2011 and next year on water resources, drainage and flood control. "But the officials' accounts in this field are chaotic," said Yang Qin , a Shenzhen lawmaker. "I have little idea how the department uses the budget.

"We suffered three torrential downpours of this kind within a year - one on August 30 and another on April 30. Sunday was the third. So far no officials have been punished for the losses."

Xiong Yang , of the NGO Green River, said the floods were largely the result of aggressive urbanisation. Vast road networks and destroyed green belts meant some cities struggled to cope with heavy rain, Xiong said.