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Rescue experience as boy inspires soldier fighting floods

By Zhu Lixin in Hefei | | Updated: 2020-08-01 10:08
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As Jiang Ping jumped into the floodwater to consolidate a dike, more soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army followed him on July 28.

A platoon leader, the man and his fellow soldiers have been fighting against floods for three weeks in East China’s Anhui province, which has been suffering from severe flooding since early July.

Based in neighboring Jiangsu province, more than 1,000 officers from his troop arrived at Tongling city along the Yangtze River on July 11 over an urgent call for help.

After 12 days of efforts, the flooding situation in Tongling had been brought under control and they were called again to Hefei, the provincial capital, as Chaohu Lake was still at risk for flooding.

"I saw many houses and fields had been submerged by the floodwater in both Tongling and Hefei, and the critical situation reminds me of a scene etched into my mind," he said.

Born in 1992, Jiang Ping experienced a desperate moment in 1998, when flooding hit his hometown in rural Zongyang county, governed by Anqing city at the time, but now by Tongling city.

The floods hitting the southern parts of the country during that year were believed to be some of the worst seen since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

One day in the summer, water flooded Jiang’s village beside Pogang Lake, which connects with the Yangtze.

"As most parts of my house -- a one-floor building with bricks and tiles -- were submerged by floodwater and the water kept rising, my father lifted me and my elder brother onto the roof," said Jiang.

"Staying on the roof for nearly three hours, we were desperately concerned for our lives," he said.

"As an officer took me into his arms, he tried to ease my panic, saying, ‘Don’t be afraid, we are here with you'," he recalled, adding that he would never forget the words.

Jiang joined the PLA in 2010 after graduation from high school. "It had been my dream since that experience with the soldiers," he said.

"As a new recruit, training had been very tiring. Every time when I wanted to give up, I gained strength from the childhood memory with the soldiers," he said.

"Once while attending an exhibition of my troop’s history, I found it was exactly this troop who reached my village for flood relief in 1998," said Jiang, adding that he was surprised and moved to tears.

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