Flooding in the Sichuan and Shanxi Providences of China – 1981

This picture is proof of the human spirit. Taken in August 1981, it depicts flooding in the Sichuan and Shanxi providences of China in what appears to be the receding flood. Water is up to people’s knees, but in this picture everyone is smiling as they take some refuge from the water by sitting on an convenient fence. Examining the picture closely you can see the high water mark on the wall.

Sichuan, Shanxi Flooding

In the Sichuan and Shanxi providences of China, people are celebrating as flood waters recede. Vintage photo from 1981

According to Wikipedia, this was the 53 deadliest flood ever with a death toll of 2,075 people. The disaster started in July of that year in Sichuan providence, killing 920 people. The rains seem to have continued and moved into the Shanxi Providence dropping up to 24 inches of water. This caused massive flooding in the Shanxi with seven rivers overflowing.

230 villages were wiped out, 250,000 acres of land were flooded, 5000 people had been injured in addition to those killed in the flooding (and no doubt those who died of disease later,) and 200,000 people were left homeless. Yet these people are smiling. Of course this may have something to do with the fact that these Chinese provides are prone to disastrous flooding in general. The year before 6200 people had died from the floods, and in 1931 the death toll is counted in the millions.

Leave a Reply