SW China flash flood: A tragedy that shouldn't happen

The tragic flash flood that killed seven people in southwest China's Pengzhou City could have been prevented if tourists had listened to repeated warnings from local authorities.

The flood took place at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a remote valley called Longcaogou, which many people on social media described as a great tourist site.

But rescuers said the valley has never been set up as a scenic spot. What's worse, it frequently suffers from floods and torrents.

In fact, a local weather station issued a warning on social media less than an hour before the flood, saying heavy rainfall could be expected in the following six hours.

The valley has been fenced off "for a long time," rescuer Zhou Yang told newspaper The Economic Observer, adding that local government set up many warning signs telling tourists to stay away from rivers in the valley.

A patrol team was also set up to routinely search for tourists who came to the valley after reading social media recommendations.

"Sometimes we can't do anything about it," Zhou said. "We often spend much time persuading them to stay away from the water."

"But they went back right after we left," he added.

Zhou said people are mostly safe if they don't get into the river flowing in the valley.

Local villagers told media that one of the patrollers begged the tourists to leave not long before the flood ran through, warning them it was raining on top of the mountain and they should run.

"But no one listened," said villager Hu Min. "Those urban people know nothing about the power of floods."

The tragedy was heavily discussed on social media. On Q&A website, the topic remained the most discussed for almost an entire day.

"People believe online celebrities instead of local government," read a comment on, which got more than 6,600 upvotes. "We should reflect on this."

Others blamed the tragedy on the uncommonly hot weather, which affected not only China but also Europe.

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