Leaders mourn flood victims
Beijing city leaders led by Party chief Guo Jinlong and acting mayor Wang Anshun mourned victims killed in the July 21 downpour, when inspecting the disaster relief work in Fangshan District Friday morning.
Beijing's top official said Friday the disastrous rainstorm exposed many loopholes in urban planning, construction, infrastructure and emergency management.
Guo Jinlong, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Beijing Municipal Committee, mourned the people who lost their lives in the disaster during a field trip to Fangshan District, which was worst hit by the rainstorm.
"We must seriously reflect on the lessons and always bear them in mind," Guo said.
Death toll climbs to 77
The death toll from rain-triggered disasters and accidents on Saturday in the Chinese capital climbed to 77 after more bodies were recovered, the Beijing flood control headquarters said Thursday.
Of the 77 victims, 66 have been identified, including five people who died while carrying out rescue work, Pan Anjun, a spokesman for the headquarters, said Thursday night.
Of the other 61 victims -- 36 men and 25 women -- 46 drowned, five were electrocuted, three died in housing collapses, two by mudslide, two by traumatic shock, two from being hit by falling objects and one was struck by lightning, Pan said.
He said a further sharp increase in the death toll is not likely because the search for missing persons is drawing to an end. "But we will not give up searching just yet," Pan said.
Most of the bodies were found in suburban districts, including 38 bodies that were recovered in the hardest-hit Fangshan district, he said.
The list of victims shows that an 8-month-old girl was among the deceased, with drowning listed as the cause of her death.
The spokesman added that the reasons the death toll was not updated until Thursday evening were because it was difficult to comb through the rain-triggered mudslide debris and identifying the bodies also took time.
Drivers urged to take precautions
Yang Qingyuan, an expert in escape training in Beijing, said it is also important to take precautionary measures such as having a fire extinguisher, a knife, some gloves and a hammer in the vehicle.
The move follows the death of a 34-year-old driver who drowned when a four-meter flash flood engulfed his vehicle near Guangqumen Bridge on Saturday. The automatic windows failed to function under the water.
"Warning signs indicating water levels on all low-lying underpasses will be of great help for drivers," said Guo Mingfeng, a 45-year-old taxi driver who has been driving for more than 20 years.
Highways to get water indicators
To protect drivers, alert lines, indicating water levels, will be put on specific highways and underpasses.
The yellow warning line will be 20 centimeters above ground, alerting drivers to proceed with caution while the red line, prohibiting further driving, is 27 centimeters above ground.
The lines will be easily identifiable, according to the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.