Four Chinese officials in north China’s Hubei province were suspended on Sunday for alleged dereliction of duty as public pressure over “ineffective rescue efforts” mounted following the deadly floods that left more than 200 dead.
They include two Communist Party of China (CPC) officials in Xingtai city, a chief engineer of Shijiazhuang municipal bureau of transport and a deputy head of Jingxing County, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The officials will be subjected to accountability investigations and could face further punishment, it said.
The mayor of Xingtai apologised on Saturday night for inadequate response to the storms that have caused 25 deaths and left 13 missing in the city.
Locals accused officials of failing to provide early warning about flash floods and later of the impending deluge.
People took to the streets after pictures of the corpses of drowned children being pulled from the muddy floodwaters were circulated online. They accused officials of “ineffective rescue efforts and trying to cover up the cause of the disaster”.
The residents also voiced suspicion that the sudden flood was the result of release of water from a local reservoir, rather than the breaking of a levee in a nearby river, as claimed by officials.
At least 114 people were killed and 111 reported missing in Hubei on Saturday in floods as torrential rains lashed north China this week.
Nearly 310,000 people have been evacuated and hundreds of thousands are still trapped as water levels have risen up.
In central and southern China, several major cities have been submerged due to the heavy downpour, causing over 200 deaths, state media reported.