'Distress call' mini-app runs hot
A mini-app on WeChat has received more than 200,000 messages calling for or offering help to those affected by the recent flooding in North China during its first 24 hours of operation. The mini-app, launched by Beijing Daily and technology giant Tencent, allows people in distress to submit calls for help by providing their mobile number, location and details of the distress they are in. Photos can also be added. Volunteers operating the mini-app forward the information to front-line rescue teams, who visit the site as soon as possible. People willing to help can offer information on shelters and materials or apply to become volunteers. Information on the depth of floodwaters can also be submitted to the app.
1,500-km trek to offer supplies
A man from Ningbo, Zhejiang province, has driven more than 1,500 kilometers to Zhuozhou, one of the cities hardest hit by floods in Hebei province, to deliver urgently needed life jackets and food. Deng Lei left Ningbo at noon on Tuesday and drove five hours to Yancheng, Jiangsu province. At a warehouse he collected 120 life jackets, five packages of bottled water, and 12 cartons of biscuits. He packed them in the trunk of his vehicle and drove to Zhuozhou, arriving early on Wednesday morning and handing the supplies to local police. Lei told Tide News that when he was young he had to sleep on the street for a week due to flooding and people had helped him out. He said he had participated in several flood-relief efforts in recent years to pay back those who had helped him, and to contribute to society.
Beijing sees heaviest rainfall in 140 years
The recent downpour has seen the highest precipitation ever measured in Beijing since scientific measuring of rainfall began in 1883. The Beijing Meteorological Service said on Wednesday that from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Wednesday, it had recorded 744.8 millimeters at a station in Changping district, far surpassing the maximum of 609 mm recorded on July 23, 1891. The current deluge is the heaviest rainfall ever measured by scientific equipment in Beijing, the service said. The entire capital has recorded 280 mm of average rainfall, with its western mountainous area logging much more. Data at some stations was unable to be retrieved due to disrupted telecommunications. In ancient times, there were many incidents of heavy rain, but they were not documented in detail, the service said. The earliest measured heavy rainfall in Beijing was in July 1883. The downpour lasted seven days and precipitation of 510.3 mm was recorded. In July 2012, heavy rain hit Beijing, with floods and mountain torrents killing at least 79 people. Maximum rainfall of 541 mm was recorded in Fangshan district.