Who needs to call the emergency hotline when you have social media.
In one of the more heart-warming stories of recent weeks, Guangzhou’s Tianhe Fire Department sprang into action after receiving an SOS message from a group of 14 people in Shantou’s Huali village, according to Guangzhou Daily. The rescue mission was carried out on September 4 at around 10.30am.
The fire department got wind of the villagers’ dire situation through their official Weibo account. The flood-trapped individuals used online hashtags, like #ShantouRainstorm and #HualiVillagersEmergencyRequestingHelp to bring attention to their predicament. A concerned Weibo user tagged the Guangzhou Fire Department in the comments section of the post.
Huang Guobo, the vice deputy of the Guangzhou Tianhe Fire Department, answered the call for help, leading a rescue team by boat through Shantou's flooded streets (no sources confirm where the team set out from, but they are believed to have been already helping people in Shantou, a prefecture-level city on Guangdong’s eastern coast). As rescuers neared the location of the trapped Shantouites, the alley became too narrow for passage, according to the report.
The firefighters then switched to a smaller boat and paddled the last leg of the journey to the house. After receiving permission to tear down the front door, they rowed the boat into the main room. Once inside, they formed a human ladder to reach the second floor, where the flood victims – among whom was a 1-month-old baby – had taken up residence. Everyone was safely loaded onto the rowboat and traveled back to the larger boat, which was located about a kilometer away.
Image via 广州消防/Weibo
Due to the amount of waste floating in the flooded streets, the boat’s propeller was repeatedly jammed, according to Guangzhou Daily. The only solution was to jump into the trash-strewn water and remove the rubbish by hand.
The whole rescue mission took about one hour and 30 minutes, and the firefighters were successful in relocating all of the 14 stranded people, including the infant, to a safe area.
Image via 广州消防/Weibo
[Cover image: screengrab via 新快报/Weibo]