Residents are blaming West Rail for last month's floods in the northern New Territories. The rainfall at that time was the heaviest in 16 years. Villagers at Sheung Cheung Wai, near Tin Shui Wai, said the floods on April 14 were the most serious they had seen in 20 years. 'My house never flooded during rainstorms before the construction work started. It's West Rail's responsibility to compensate us,' Tang Chun-lam, 70, said. 'Almost all my electrical appliances and furniture are ruined.' More than 20 of the 128 floods reported throughout the SAR were along the West Rail line from Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai. Over 10 villages were inundated. Flood levels reached an average of 1.5 metres. In low-lying areas, the water reached two metres. Seven people were injured and almost 160 people were rescued. Vegetable crops, vehicles and stored goods were ruined. Tuen Mun District Board member Albert Ho Chun-yan said: 'I believe the flood was caused by mud from the project clogging the drainage channels.' He promised to raise the issue with the Legislative Council as soon as possible. West Rail has denied responsibility for the flooding. A company spokesman said: 'It didn't only affect the New Territories but all other areas and even Shenzhen. 'We have always demanded our contractor ensure that the drainage capacity is maintained at an adequate level.' The KCR said an inspection of West Rail sites by senior management found no evidence to suggest the works had caused or aggravated the flooding. Despite the company's denials, media reports said West Rail was aware that construction work could affect water drainage in surrounding areas. A local paper reported that West Rail had requested that the Hong Kong Observatory give it flood warnings so that it could adopt preventive measures. Residents had filed complaints about mud from construction sites obstructing drainage channels long before the floods. Deputy Director of Home Affairs Lui Hau-tuen said other construction work apart from the building of West Rail could also lead to blocked drains. A spokesman for the Drainage Services Department said investigations into the cause of flooding in areas not known to be black spots were underway. The department refused to say whether West Rail construction work had caused the floods. But it predicted that flooding was likely to get worse as the construction of West Rail continued. Engineer Kwok Ping-keung from the department said low-lying areas of Yuen Long including Nga Tam Mei Tsuen, Chuk Yuen Tsuen, Yau Tam Mei Tsuen and Fairview Park would remain flood-prone until a drainage channel was completed in late 2002. The new channel would be able to cope with a downpour expected only once in 200 years. He said a temporary pond had been built to accommodate rainfall expected once every five years. But a flood like last month's one happened only once every 35 years and was too much for the pond to withstand.