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Life returning to normal after bridge collapse

Updated: 2024-02-26 By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhouchinadaily.com.cn


A villager from Sanmin Island in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, collects water from a supply truck on Thursday. A section of the Lixinsha Bridge, the island's only land link, collapsed at dawn Thursday, leaving locals short of water due to a broken pipeline. DONG TIANJIAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

The lives of the more than 9,100 residents on Sanmin Island are gradually returning to normal after the local government completed construction of a temporary water supply pipeline on Friday morning. The island's only land link was severed after the Lixinsha Bridge in Nansha district, Guangzhou, was heavily damaged after a ship collision.

"Although the water pressure is not too strong, residents living in low-lying areas can also use the tap water," said an on-site construction worker who had worked through the night to fix the pipeline.

The accident took place around 5:31 am on Thursday when the bridge in Guangdong's provincial capital was struck by a barge, resulting in a portion of the structure collapsing. Five people were killed and another two suffered injuries when five vehicles fell from the bridge.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the accident occurred due to inappropriate conduct by the vessel's crew. The barge collided with two supporting piers of the bridge, causing a portion of the deck to break off.

The collapse of the Lixinsha Bridge, the only vehicular passage to and from Sanmin Island, led to the temporary disruption of running water after damage to the island's water supply pipeline.

Residents on the island rushed to local shops to purchase bottled water and authorities set up water supply points for clean water.

Sanmin once faced transportation difficulties. But completion of the Lixinsha Bridge in 1994 served as the primary passage for islanders, and marked the end of reliance on ferries for travel.

Previously, only two ferries were available for residents to travel to and from the island. In response to the accident, two additional temporary ferry docks began operating on Friday morning, increasing ferry services and effectively meeting the travel needs of locals, said Chen Qian, an official of Wanqingsha town.

Covering an area of about 10 square kilometers, Sanmin, part of Wanqingsha, comprises three villages — Minli, Minxing and Minjian.

The island's primary economic activity is fruit and vegetable cultivation. Farmers typically harvest their produce the previous evening and leave it at designated locations for collection by trucks the following day. Nearly 100 trucks arrive on the island daily to collect the produce.

Liang Jinhua, 54, who operates an ecological farm on the island, told China Daily on Friday that the island had sufficient water, electricity and food supplies. However, Liang acknowledged that some orders had been canceled as his agricultural products could not be delivered in time on Thursday.

The island's only primary school commenced online teaching on Thursday, without any suspension of classes.

In addition, a special hotline was immediately set up to address medical needs. Wang Shengping, a local social worker, said she and other volunteers would accompany expectant mothers and the elderly to leave the island to visit doctors if necessary.

Liu Zhongwen, who runs a fishing farm for tourists on the island, mentioned that his business, along with those running restaurants, had been affected, as tourists cannot arrive now.

The repair and strengthening work on the bridge will commence immediately after relevant departments complete a safety inspection of the structure, said Zou Xiaojiang, chief engineer of the Guangzhou Bureau of Transport.

A districtwide bridge inspection is underway to identify and rectify safety issues in Nansha district, which is located at the mouth of the Pearl River and has many bridges over the busy waterways.

The Nansha district government has canceled a fireworks show and drone performance scheduled for Saturday night, which falls on the traditional Lantern Festival, or the 15th day of the lunar calendar.

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