xi's moments
Home | Society

Tourists cautioned of flood dangers in wake of tragedy

By LUO WANGSHU | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-16 07:30

Mountain torrent that killed 7, injured 8 at scenic spot in Sichuan stirs reaction

The safety of tourists visiting unregulated scenic spots prone to flash flooding has become a matter of public issue following the tragic death of seven people, and the injury of eight others, in a flash flood at a scenic spot in Sichuan province.

At about 3:30 pm on Saturday, a flash flood hit Longcao valley, a popular tourist spot in Longmenshan town, Pengzhou, which is administered by Sichuan provincial capital, Chengdu. Several tourists were unable to escape before the flood hit.

In the wake of the tragedy, tourists have been cautioned against visiting mountainous locations susceptible to flash flooding during the summer flood season.

"Mountain climates are very complicated. There can often be heavy rain at the top of a mountain and clear weather below. This can sometimes lead to flash floods or mudslides that people lower down the mountain have no clue are coming," Xie Hong, a researcher from the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China Science Daily.

Xie said that although people know to avoid certain areas in the mountains during heavy rain, greater awareness is needed.

When it rains, slopes become prone to instability and to disasters such as flash floods, mudslides, rockslides, landslides and cave-ins, he said.

Longcao valley experiences frequent weather fluctuations, with rain often falling higher up on the mountain. As a result of its location in the heart of the Longmen Mountains, it is difficult for rescue workers to arrive in time in the event of a disaster, said Long Chengyan, Party chief of Xiaoyudong community, whose jurisdiction includes the valley.

According to villagers, the flash flood hit within seconds.

Xie said that although the warnings are clearly posted at such places, some people are quick to forget about such tragedies.

He suggested teaching a better understanding of the way weather behaves in the mountains in schools, so that awareness of potential danger is ingrained at a young age.

"Tragedies like this can be avoided," he said.

According to the Pengzhou city emergency management bureau, floods in 2015 and 2017 destroyed more than 100 meters of the river bank in the valley.

Longmenshan is popular with Chengdu residents for its cool weather and cold water in summer, and clear warnings had been set up on the river bank and along nearby streams to dissuade tourists from going down to the water.

Recently, Longcao valley has been widely touted on social media platforms as an "Instagramable "location and niche holiday resort.

Many bloggers have posted pictures of the valley's beautiful scenery and their trips on recommendation platforms like Xiao Hong Shu and Dazhong Dianping and short video platforms like Douyin, encouraging people to visit.

After the incident, many platforms removed Longcao valley from their recommendation lists, and now searches for the valley on some social media platforms return warnings about "traveling safely "and "staying away from dangerous areas".

Xu Guilin, a lawyer from Beijing, told Beijing Youth Daily that the platforms are obliged to issue safety alerts and to review content before publishing posts about high-risk tourist spots. Publishers are also obliged to remind viewers of risks in video content, otherwise, both the platform and the publisher incur certain liabilities.

"The only thing we can do is to advise people to avoid going to mountains during the flood and rainy season. If parents still want to take their children to the mountains to play in the water to cool off, it is better they choose regulated scenic spots. These places have usually been evaluated by safety experts and will have some protection or rescue measures in place. It is better to avoid unattended scenic spots," researcher Xie said.

Huang Zhiling in Chengdu contributed to this story.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349