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Record Floods Swamp Beijing Streets July 27, 2012
Flooded Beijing street
Rescue workers pump water from a section of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway in Fengtai district of Beijing on Monday afternoon.
Hundreds of people are feared to have perished when unprecedented floods swamped the region around Beijing, but officials insist the death toll was only 77.

The inundations resulted from the heaviest rainfall on record in some parts of China’s capital, including more than 18 inches in the southwestern district of Fangshan.

Flood waters trapped motorists in their cars, students in their schools and bus passengers on roadways around the capital.

China suffers flooding and numerous storm-related deaths each summer during its rainy season, but such deluges are rare in Beijing’s normally dry climate.

The city’s drainage system was mostly constructed during the 1950s, based on a Soviet design.

It has not been updated to keep pace with China’s explosive development in recent decades.

Construction has also covered many of Beijing’s canals and other waterways, leaving runoff nowhere to go except into the overwhelmed sewers.

Photo: China Daily