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China's Megacity Fighting Natural Disasters and Pandemic

By ZHANG, GAOWEIALEX REPORTERFYXUANQI YUANICHONGQING|Aug 25,2022

Chongqing- China’s Megacity is fighting heat waves, fires, electricity shortages, and a small outbreak of Covid all at once.

COVID-19 is a significant public health emergency taken very seriously in China. Since the outbreak, China’s Dynamic Zero-Covid Policy has prevented many deaths. Chongqing is recently dealing with a small outbreak of Covid Cases. The local government mass tested 10 million residents without hesitation on August 24. The Dynamic Zero-Covid Policy continues to show its resilience. Since the first case of this wave on August 3rd, 15 small waves have occurred in Chongqing. Currently, most districts’ epidemic situation has been transferred to normal prevention and control.

Covid is not the only thing challenging the megacity of Chongqing. Since July 2022, the Yangtze River has been experiencing the worst meteorological drought since 1961. With a rare “reverse dry season in the flood season.” On August 11, the Ministry of Water Resources launched a level IV emergency response to drought prevention in 6 provinces and cities, including Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Anhui. The water and electricity supply has been affected by drought. In Chongqing, the highest temperature reached an unprecedented 45°C. According to the forecast of the Chongqing Meteorological Observatory, in the next three days, most parts of Chongqing will continue to be sunny, hot, and high temperatures, and the temperature will be 25-44 °C.

The forest fire danger level in most areas of Chongqing is exceptionally high. Some fires are visible from the city as mountains surround Chongqing. From 15:00 on August 23 to 5:00 on August 24, satellite monitoring detected 23 hot spots in Chongqing. Among them are 4 in Beibei District, 3 in Bishan District, 4 in Tongnan District, and 12 in Changshou District.

Since August 17, the National Emergency Management Department has dispatched 528 forest firefighters from surrounding areas, including 228 in Sichuan and 300 in Yunnan. Four helicopters (2 in Sichuan, 1 in Guangxi, and 1 in Hubei) rushed to Chongqing and urgently dispatched a batch of forest fire-fighting materials, including 20 8-horsepower water pumps, 8 tons of fire extinguishing agents, 200 sets of protective suits, and 630 sets of protective clothing, were delivered.

This city is bracing for a challenging week ahead. The only answer to winning this battle is the determination of Chongqing’s people. From firefighters to professional health care workers to good samaritans, they know their roles in this battle, and the often unknown heroes are the good citizens and the young generation. They all pull together to support each other. Everyone is trying to win this battle against natural disasters and the pandemic. Stong is one way of describing Chongqing people.

Having a city of strong people with a history of rising to any challenge is refreshing in a time of great challenges.

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