WUXI, China — Millions of Chinese dug earth and filled sandbags Saturday in a desperate battle to protect the big eastern cities of Nanjing and Shanghai against the worst floods in a century.
Since late May, rising floodwaters have killed more than 1,300 people from the far northeast to Sichuan in the southwest. Chinese officials say disease and hunger may kill more and have sent out an urgent global appeal for help.
Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, is seriously threatened by the rising waters of the Yangtze River, which has a history of causing disastrous floods.
Along the elevated train line between Nanjing and the nearby city of Wuxi, about 600 miles south of Beijing, lowland fields are like lakes and telephone poles are nearly submerged.
On the streets of Nanjing, virtually everyone seems to be filling straw bags with dirt to stop flood waters.