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Web China: Chinese netizens mourn 37 victims of Beijing downpour

BEIJING, July 23 — Hundreds of thousands of Chinese netizens are lamenting the loss of over three dozen lives in Saturday's catastrophic downpour in Beijing.

The heavy rains, believed to be the heaviest to hit the national capital in six decades, have killed at least 37 people.

Among them, 25 were drowned, six were killed in house collapses and six by electrocution, according to a statement issued by the Information Office of the municipal government Sunday night.

On Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site, grieving people expressed their sympathy for the deceased by posting images of burning candles and comments wishing them peace.

"I didn't realize until now how lucky I was to be able to get back home safe and sound that night. May they rest in peace. I hope there are no torrential rains in heaven," wrote user "Amordong."

Netizens also paid tribute to Li Fanghong, a police inspector who died while trying to rescue villagers trapped by floodwaters.

Li was electrocuted by a live wire that had fallen into the water after rescuing 63 people in the village of Fenghuangting in the suburban Fangshan District. A Weibo post from the Beijing Public Security Bureau recounting Li's bravery has been reposted 500,000 times.

Weibo users have also made efforts to aid those affected by the storm, picking up license plates washed away during the deluge and searching for their owners, as well as volunteering to search for those who remain missing.

Although the municipal meteorological authority had issued rainstorm alert warnings prior to the downpour on Saturday, netizens have complained that the early warnings were too vague and hoped for detailed explanation of the disasters behind the warnings.

While issuing warnings, the government should also warn citizens to stay indoors through text messages and inform drivers of flooded road sections, said Shi Anbin, a professor of Tsinghua University.

Some netizens also called for attention to the city's flawed water drainage system. Some posted photos of drainage systems used in other large cities to highlight the flaws in Beijing's own drainage system.

"I hope cities will pay more attention to their 'inner' construction. The luxurious appearance itself is good for nothing," wrote user "Zhitianqi." (PNA/Xinhua)


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