SHUCHENG, July 5, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on July 5, 2016 shows a submerged house in Taoxi Township of Shucheng County, east China's Anhui Province. Torrential rainfall in Shucheng since June 30 and rain-triggered dike breaches have affected 300,000 people, destroyed 370,000 mu (about 24,667 hectares) of crops and forced 44,870 to relocate. (Xinhua/Tao Ming)
HEFEI, July 5 (Xinhua) -- As torrential rain continues to cause deadly floods along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, there have been many miraculous rescues and tales of heroism.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated in downpours that have left at least 128 people dead and 42 others missing in 11 provincial Chinese regions since Thursday. Anhui has been one of the worst-hit provinces.
Police officers in Bowang District, Ma'anshan City of Anhui rescued a blind 80-year-old woman besieged by flood water by pushing her out of her home in a buoyant drinking water vat.
In the early hours of Saturday, the officers received a report that the lady living alone on the second floor of a building near the swollen Bowang River was in danger, as the first floor had been submerged.
The police car was forced to stop about 500 meters from her home and four policemen reached her after wading through the chest-deep water.
Since there was no boat available, she was carried into the vat, common in rural Chinese homes, police officer Hou Yan told Xinhua.
Around the same time, a river breached its banks and grew to about 4.5 miles wide in Lu'an City, threatening the lives of 46,000 people. To find a way to those trapped, six firefighters and local officials had to wade for nearly four miles through rushing floodwater.
Pu Qianqian is a "chengguan," or urban management officer, but in the past few days he has been on the front line of saving lives in Qianshan County, Anqing City.
"My usual job is to oversee sanitation, but these days I'm a rescuer," Pu said, standing outside his office, wearing a raincoat.
Late on Friday night, he and 23 other chengguan arrived in Youba Township to prevent a dike breaching on the Wanhe River. They used sandbags to shore up the dike. "There are few young people in the countryside nowadays, so the locals have only us to count on," he said.
More than 2,000 tourists were evacuated from Anhui's Tiantangzhai Forest Park on Saturday as the area was hit by mountain floods.
Tour guide Wang Li led a 24-strong group to check in to a hotel in the park on Thursday night, only for rain-triggered landslides and floods to block their route back out. Telecommunications and electric supply were also disrupted.
"The rain fell overnight. I saw floodwater flowing towards us and rocks tumbling down," Wang said.
"People panicked and worried there was not enough food," said tourist Liu Lijuan.
At 10 p.m. on Friday, two policemen from the Tiantangzhai police station trekked over 18 miles to the hotel, where they managed to send a distress call.
The next day, rescuers arrived and guided the tourists along the 12-mile road damaged by debris from landslides and cave-ins, said Lu Shichuan, the Communist Party of China chief of Tiantangzhai Township.
"In the beginning, we took a bus, then cars, then motorcycles. On the most difficult section of the road, the policemen carried us on their backs," Wang recalled.
By 8 a.m. on Monday, all the trapped tourists had returned home, Lu said.
In a classroom of Chungu Middle School in Nanling County, 11-year-old Luo Meili had a good night's sleep on Monday. She and her mother, Hu Gaoying, were among about 1,000 locals relocated to two schools after a river breached its banks on Monday morning.
Hu said of her daughter, "She was scared to death, asking me to take her away again and again. I myself have never seen such a big flood."
Yang Huafeng, principal of Chungu Middle School, said it had more than 10,000 bottles of water, along with quilts, food and toiletries, from the civil affairs department and private donations, to sustain over 300 relocated people.
In Xuzhen Township of Nanling, more than 200 village officials and 1,000 villagers are patrolling the banks of the Zhanghe River, a tributary of the Yangtze, according to township head Xu Fangzhen.
"The situation is urgent. The water level of the Zhanghe has exceeded the alarm level," Xu told Xinhua at 1 a.m. on Monday, shortly after he handled a dike collapse.
Since Anhui entered the flood season on June 18, rainstorms have killed 29 people and left two missing, while forcing the relocation of 713,000, according to the provincial civil affairs department.
As locals left, they had to abandon much of their property.
At a pig farm in Shucheng County, Lu'an City, Li Zuming wept and said goodbye to about 3,000 pigs that had no chance of survival on Monday.
Photos posted online showed him wiping away tears in the knee-deep water, surrounded by pigs struggling to raise their heads above the water.
But on Tuesday, photos online showed a local company has rescued some of the pigs though rescuers have not decided where to resettle the pigs.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs estimated an economic loss of 38.16 billion yuan (5.73 bln U.S. dollars) from the rainfall in the 11 provincial regions.
The National Meteorological Center has forecast heavy rain in parts of the Anhui, Hubei, Guangxi and Sichuan regions until 2 p.m. of Wednesday.