Dramatic floods strike 27 provinces and territories across China, threaten Three Gorges Dam
Dramatic floods have inundated 27 provinces and territories
in China – with only seven areas spared. Alongside these floods, a total of 17 large rivers in the country have reached past the alarm level. These floods threatened the integrity of China's Three Gorges Dam, which has continuously resisted the annual deluges.
Chinese media reports said that nearly 7 million people were affected by the floods. They have washed away more than 6,000 homes and cost the country nearly $2 billion in economic losses nationwide. Twenty-four people were reported dead or missing as a result of the floods. Chinese provinces from the north to the south bore the brunt of the heavy flooding.
More than 42,000 people in the northernmost province of Heilongjiang were affected by the floods, with nearly 20,000 being forced to flee. Local water levels in the city of Heihe in the province meanwhile soared by more than eight feet in recent days. The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Heilongjiang's western neighbor, lost more than 12,000 hectares of food crops in just one city.
Southern China was likewise ravaged by intense flooding. A new round of heavy rain battered the southeastern Fujian province since July 5. The ongoing downpour was projected to last until July 8. Jiangxi province, located to the west of Fujian, also reported problems caused by the deluge.
Officials in the city of Yiyang in the southeastern province of Hunan issued a red-level warning for heavy rain on July 5. Authorities in the Chongqing municipality followed suit and announced a level 4 weather warning. Chongqing's announcement came amid many houses and roads suffering damage from the floods.
The Epoch Times
also reported severe flooding
in the southern province of Guangxi, which is located near Vietnam. According to Chinese news outlets, heavy rain fell on the province's northern and central areas from June 27 to July 2. It subsequently impacted more than a million residents in 46 counties.
The flooding in Guangxi displaced 91,500 residents and killed 16. Ten residents were reported missing as a result of the deluge. Direct financial losses hit 2.9 billion yuan (US$447 million). In response, authorities raised the emergency response level from four to three.
The Three Gorges Dam may reach its breaking point soon
Amid the recent flooding in China, many have asked if the Three Gorges Dam is still sturdy enough to hold back the huge amount of waters from China's rivers. Beijing built the dam at the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in 1997 to control yearly flooding. However, the 2020 flood season put the dam's role in addressing the deluge into question. (Related: China floods reach new high as officials issue grim warnings
Back in July 2020, former Chinese Vice Minister for Water Resources Ye Jianchin said that the dam stored 2.9 billion cubic meters of floodwater. However, geologist Fan Xiao countered Ye's claim by saying that the dam's storage capacity
only amounted to less than nine percent of average floodwater. Fan added that the Three Gorges Dam was powerless to address the floods in the Yangtze's middle and lower reaches.
In the same month, Beijing made a rare admission that the Three Gorges Dam "deformed slightly" following record flooding. Chinese state media outlet Xinhua News Agency
quoted the China Three Gorges Corporation in a report, saying that "non-structural, peripheral parts of the dam had buckled." The China Three Gorges Corporation handled the management of the dam itself and the hydroelectric power plant underneath it.
Nevertheless, Chinese experts dismissed claims
that the integrity of the Three Gorges Dam had been compromised. Hydraulics expert Wang Hao of the Chinese Academy of Engineering
said the dam is strong enough to withstand flood impact. China Three Gorges Corporation Hub Management Bureau Director Zhang Shuguang agreed with Wang, saying that nothing could topple the dam in the next 500 years.
According to Zhang, the dam was constructed using a special kind of cement that reacts with water to form a hard matrix. This subsequently bound blocks together into a durable form. He added that being a gravity dam, the Three Gorges dam was designed to hold back water using the weight of the material alone. This allowed the dam to resist the horizontal pressure of floodwater pushing against it.
Zhang further remarked that each section of the dam would remain stable and independent of any other section, even if the structural integrity of one portion was undermined. However, such a situation had not yet occurred – as Zhang said that not one of the 12,000 sensors fitted throughout the dam had ever flashed red on the central control panel. (Related: Buckling Three Gorges Dam in China is just fine, claims CCP
to read more about the floods in China
and how they threaten the Three Gorges Dam.