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'Beijing flood map' wins popularity after capital rainstorm

(Xinhua)

08:17, July 25, 2012

BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Internet users are sharing self-made maps marking Beijing's flood-prone areas in a self-help campaign following Saturday's deadly downpour in the national capital.

The maps, exhorting residents to shun potential waterlogged streets during rainstorms, appeared after torrential rains inundated Beijing on Saturday, leaving 37 people dead.

According to an official statement, 25 people were drowned when the rain, purportedly the worst in six decades, submerged many sections of the city streets.

Chinese netizens have criticised the municipal authority for failing to update the city's run-down drainage system or to pre-warn residents about the impending disaster.

In one "flood map" created by netizen "goldengrape," 40 places in Beijing were labeled as "dangerous" based on netizens' experiences in Saturday's rainstorm. Descriptions were also added, such as "intersection of Xi'erqi North Road, low-lying, many manhole covers washed away."

Netizens said the map would help them cope with future cloudbursts, as they predicted the city's road conditions couldn't be improved in a short time.

Other posts and videos, widely re-twittered on Monday and Tuesday, included survival tips on how to break open car windows and get rid of the vehicles that sank into deep waters.

Earlier reports said a Beijing man was drowned in his car on Saturday night after driving into a four-meter-deep pool formed by rainwater on a downtown road. He reportedly knocked his head against the window in a failed attempt to break free.

According to a map published by Beijing's flood control office, 80 spots in the city were still soaked in water as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The office will soon publish its version of the "flood map" pointing out the flood-prone areas in Beijing, said Liu Hongwei, spokesman for the office.

Severe downpours thrashed the Chinese capital on Saturday afternoon and continued for hours, with precipitation reaching 170 mm citywide and the maximum exceeding 460 mm.

The rain caused widespread traffic paralyses in the city while stranding about 80,000 passengers at the airport. More than 50,000 people were evacuated after rain toppled and flooded many homes, especially in the suburbs.

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