Sichuan, China: “Everywhere was flooded or washed away”
In Sichuan province, China, weeks of heavy rain have triggered severe flooding and intense landslides in townships across the western province.
Since 7 July 2013, gushing torrents of muddy water and falling earth from mountainsides have damaged homes and other buildings. Fields and roads stand buried under water.
It’s estimated that 286,000 people are seriously affected. 13,000 houses have collapsed. 1.5 million hectares of croplands are damaged.
15-year-old Zhiying recalls the start of the flooding. “The day when it rained very heavily we were all at home,” she says.
“It was scary. You could see water flow forcefully down from the mountains. Everywhere around our home was flooded or washed away.”
Zhiying’s parents decided the family should move into a temporary camp, an elementary school building, that now houses more than 600 people. They’ve been there for six days now.
Zhiying has found life difficult here. There are no shower facilities in the camp. Zhiying and her parents sleep on the floor of a corridor, along with many other people.
“It’s awkward for me – a 15-year-old girl – to get dressed when I’m living in a corridor,” says Zhiying.
The local government is providing food and drinking water to families affected by the floods. But they still need dry clothes, soap, and other essentials.
In Wenchuan and Beichuan counties Save the Children is distributing relief packs – containing soap, nappies, hygiene wipes and toilet paper – to flood-affected families, helping them stay healthy and prevent the spread of disease.