Sunday, October 20, 2013

China's response to typhoon angers residents in hard-hit Yuyao

Kathleen E. McLaughlin in the Los Angeles Times: When natural disaster hits, China’s need to maintain social order can at times overwhelm its humanitarian efforts. State security dispatched thousands of riot police and security officers to Yuyao, a badly damaged city in Zhejiang province after Typhoon Fitow hit the eastern coast last week.

Post-typhoon flooding overwhelmed the city several days after the storm, with some reports saying 70% of the streets were flooded. Roads were left so impassable that residents couldn't leave and food supplies could not get in. After a week of coping on their own, facing critical food shortages, people took to the streets as tempers flared.

Residents said two separate protests involved a total of about 10,000 people. Some Yuyao residents demanded the removal of the city’s mayor and vice mayor, while others demonstrated against a local television station, seeking truthful reporting.

“The government ignored the real needs of ordinary people,” Lao Jianfeng, 31, a primary school teacher in Yuyao said in a phone interview. “We did not get any supplies or assistance from the government.”

“Everyone was on their own trying to escape and people were also helping each other,” Lao said. “Actually there were enough supplies from donations, but we could not get any. No one sent the supplies to us.”...

Typhoon Fitow on October 6, 2013, via NASA

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