During the night of Aug 19, biblical rains from a passing typhoon caused water behind three upstream dams to rise to dangerous levels, threatening nearby dwellings.
Local officials said they had no choice but to discharge water towards the 15 towns downstream in Shouguang, where flooding eventually affected more than half a million residents.
The unprecedented floods destroyed 9,999 houses and 200,000 greenhouses, according to local government figures.
Coincidentally, that figure of 9,999 was one home below the number which would have triggered a national level-four emergency rescue effort from Beijing… cough cough.
In Kouzi alone, a small village in Shouguang, more than 80 swineherds lost some 250,000 pigs, along with other farm animals.
One Kouzi farmer, Li Zhitong, tells of how the waters even managed to wash some of his pigs to a nearby rooftop, where they clung on for dear life while the rest of Li’s stock of 400 pigs drowned.
Like Li, many farmers are grappling with the damage to their land from the unexpected flood — the worst in four decades, according to the government.
Shouguang, known as the vegetable basket of northern China, was a pioneer in greenhouse agriculture and for years has been one of the main vegetable suppliers for the region, which includes the capital Beijing.
The heavy losses suffered by farmers like Li have shocked the country.
As one of China’s largest vegetable marketplaces, Shouguang usually ensures stable vegetable prices across the country. However since the flood, Shouguang has become a source of inflation.
Cucumber prices are up 60%, while the cost of celery has doubled, according to the city’s commodity price regulator.
The price of leafy greens have been hit hardest, partly because of the impact of the flood on the supply of fresh vegetables.
— 陈光诚 Guangcheng Chen (@iguangcheng) August 24, 2018
Just ten days before the deluge, Li and his wife had begun sowing oil bean seeds on their acre of land.
“It is still too wet and muddy. We can’t even grow wheat or corn. It will take at least one month to dry. So there will be no planting over the next month,” said Li.
“My heart is so broken, I don’t know what to say. Say what? I can’t afford to drink or to eat.
“How much can I sell seven pigs for – 300 yuan? So I might as well kill them and treat my friends. I have nothing else.”
The original article on the Shouguang Floods, from Aug 27, can be read here.
GSM = influx of Cosmic Rays = increased Cloud Nucleation