China Flooding News
A man who managed to rescue two children being swept away in a flood has been hailed a hero by the Internet. Street signs are submerged in floodwaters on the bank of the Yangtze River in Nanjing. Thirty-three rivers have reached record highs, while alerts have been issued on a total of 433 rivers. Various parts of China have been hit by continuous downpours since June, the damage adding pressure to a domestic economy already hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus ground zero of Wuhan, through which the powerful Yangtze River winds, is on an expanding list of areas warily watching the rising waters. As many as 33 rivers rise to record highs as regions across the country brace for another ‘grim’ week of rains. Heavier rainfall means a precarious existence for the 450 million Chinese residents who live along the mighty Yangtze River or its many tributaries.
Some Yangtze tributaries have already experienced their worst floods ever, including the Xiaojinchuan in Sichuan province. The water resources ministry warned last week that other smaller rivers could be “stricken by major floods” and lakes are also under close scrutiny. China has experienced three of the world’s 10 most devastating floods since 1950. The limited number of deaths this time is a testament to how far the country has come, with officials saying that at least219 people have died or disappeared. Yet flooding in cities is getting worse, a sign of rising populations and failure to execute urbanization policies.
Lower-income countries like India will have a higher mortality rate from flooding compared to China, according to a 2018 study, but China will also be greatly impacted. On 18 August, the Government of Sichuan launched its Level I emergency response, which is the first time in the history of Sichuan. In Jiuzhaigou County, the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area announced temporary closure due to safety concerns. The Yan’an section of Qingyi River was hit by a major flood rarely seen in a hundred years. In Pingshan County of Yibin, the government evacuated 2,400 of its residents due to flooding. On 17 August, in Leshan, floods affected the Leshan Giant Buddha, flood water reached the toes of the Buddha statue for the first time since the establishment of the Communist State in 1949.
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It’s not entirely clear how much of China’s food supply may be at risk, since the government hasn’t released specifics about the current state of production. The disaster is bad news for the world’s second-largest economy, which is already in a fragile state because of the coronavirus pandemic. Beijing has so far been able to secure food supplies by importing vast amounts of produce from other countries, and by releasing tens of millions of tons from strategic reserves.
According to statistics from the National Cultural Heritage Administration , 76 key national cultural relics and 187 provincial cultural heritage sites have suffered damage of varying degrees. Intense rain and severe flooding has been battering China since early June but, according to the China Meteorological Administration, the country has experienced a 20 per cent increase in heavy rainfall since 1961. Currently, the water level of 433 rivers is above the flood control line, with 33 of them reaching record highs. China’s dams — its primary guard against floods — are coming into question as they face increasing strain. On the same day, more than 16,000 people were trapped in Guzhen town in the same province as the waters surged 10 feet high and broke through levees.
Heavy rains are normal in southern China during the summer, but this year’s fell harder and longer than usual, inundating crops and entire communities over the last two months. Perhaps not coincidentally, Mr. Xi announced a campaign against food waste against the backdrop of the flooding, though officials have insisted there is no impending food crisis. Mr. Li visited Chongqing, where the Yangtze spilled over its banks for the fifth time this year and, on Thursday afternoon, breached the historical high reached in 1981. The leaders have tried to reassure people that the government was doing everything it could, but some might have doubts.
Images showed flooding had submerged three-metre-high signs and buildings several storeys high. Inflows to the world’s largest hydro-electric dam reached 75m litres of water a second, according to state media. By Thursday morning, 11 outlets of the dam had been opened to discharge 49.2m litres of water a second, the largest release since its construction. A local journalist has captured the moment of five rats climbing a window security net to get away from flood water in Guangxi, China on June 10, 2020. A look at the 700-year-old Guanyin Pavilion located in Ezhou, Hubei that has survived numerous floods in Yangtze River in China. The rapid melting of the Himalayan glaciers due to climate change may also be a cause of more dangerous summer flooding. Following coronavirus-related shutdowns and the shutdowns of overseas markets, flood damage poses a new threat to China’s economy.
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Public appearances in flood-stricken areas by Mr. Xi and China’s premier, Li Keqiang, underscored the severity of the crisis, which has delivered another blow to an economy still struggling to rebound from the pandemic. The price of corn in China was 20% higher last month compared to a year ago, according to Chinese data provider SCI — the highest level in five years. Analysts at the Chinese brokerage firm Shenwan Hongyuan, meanwhile, recently estimated that China could lose 11.2 million tons worth of food compared to last year, given how much cropland was damaged by mid July.
“The flood control pressure on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River has been reduced,” the government’s Xinhua news agency reported. Nomura’s analysis was based on data about flooded crop fields that the Chinese government released in July.
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Elsewhere, soldiers and workers have been testing the strength of embankments and shoring them up with sandbags and rocks. On Saturday, firefighters and others finished filling in a 188-meter (620-foot) break on Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake, that had caused widespread flooding across 15 villages and agricultural fields in Jiangxi province.
- In this aerial photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a village is flooded in Sanjiao Township of the Yongxiu County in eastern China’s Jiangxi Province July 13.
- Three landslides in Dunhao town in a mountainous part of Chongqing left six dead, the city’s Emergency Management Bureau said.
- In this June 7 photo, released by Xinhua News Agency, facilities at a tourism site are toppled in the aftermath of a flood after heavy downpour in Yangshuo of Guilin, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
- State media reported that the deadly floods had affected around 19,380,000 people as of July 3, 2020.
Since the floods began in June, officials have repeatedly offered reassurances that the dam could withstand what has been called once-in-a-century flooding. Some reports in state media have gone further, claiming that the dam had almost certainly prevented even worse flooding in major cities downstream, including Wuhan, where the Covid-19 pandemic began. As of mid-July, some 1.8 billion yuan ($258 million) had been allocated to help relocate people affected by the floods and rebuild ruined houses, among other measures, according to China’s Finance Ministry. The local government in Jiangxi province, where Bao lives, has also allocated 280 million yuan ($40 million) for flood relief.
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The full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer, Volta Trucks has selected Proterra as the battery supplier for the Volta Zero. The Zero is a purpose-built, full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner city freight distribution. This project represents the largest single procurement of electric school buses in North America. Montgomery County Public Schools operates more than 200 schools and serves over 160,000 students county-wide. The MCPS Department of Transportation is one of the largest in the country, with an over 1,400 school bus fleet. On July 21, the People’s Republic of China’s state-run press outlet revealed the dam had become “deformed slightly.” Youtube videos seem to indicate the problem is much worse.
The Ministry of Water Resources said in a statement that in Shaanxi Province on Friday, the river had reached the highest level since 1997. Nearly 700 smaller rivers and tributaries have also flooded, straining older dams and levees. A studyhas found that if temperatures rise by 2 degrees, flows around the Yangtze and other major world rivers will intensify, increasing the frequency of huge floods. Heavy rain days are already more numerous and intense inside cities compared to suburban areas along the Yangtze, a study using rainfall records over two periods between 1961 and 2010 found. Such days increase by 30% on average in places like Suzhou, near Shanghai, known for wedding gowns and bridal exports along with big tech factories.
The dam at a small reservoir in China’s Guangxi region gave way last month after days of heavy rain in a collapse that could be a harbinger of sterner tests for many of the country’s 94,000 aging dams as the weather gets more extreme. Chinese soldiers build an emergency levee along the shore of Boyang Lake to contain flooding due to seasonal rains and the swollen Yangtze River in Jiujiang. The worst-hit provinces were Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan in central China, Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu in the country’s east, and the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing, authorities said. The river hit its third-highest levels and is projected to increase through the week, according to state-controlled media. It is the worst floods in China in more than 30 years, as regions across the country brace for another “grim” week of torrential rain.
A building that has fallen over after flooding is partially submerged in floodwaters. Almost 38 million people have been affected and 28,000 homes destroyed, according to central government tallies. Submerged streets and inundated buildings after a dam was breached due to flooding in Jiujiang in China’s central Jiangxi province. Heavier seasonal rain is also causing a rethink of water management policies in China’s water-adjacent cities, some of which also flooded this summer because of record rainfall.
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Water levels on many rivers, including the mighty Yangtze, have been unusually high this year because of torrential rains. Rescuers carry a child to a boat during an evacuation of a flooded village in Qingyuan in southern China’s Guangdong province on June 8. Officials said that after the rainstorms, 110 rivers in eight regions swelled to above flood-stage. State media outlet China Daily said that seven people were reported dead in Hunan province. In this June 7 photo, released by Xinhua News Agency, facilities at a tourism site are toppled in the aftermath of a flood after heavy downpour in Yangshuo of Guilin, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Video on Tuesday from Guangxi showed a house teetering on the edge of a swollen river before it finally collapses into the water.
In Chongqing, the flooding consumed Ciqikou, an ancient riverside trading port near where the Jialing River merges with the Yangtze. Xinhua reported that the waters reached the third stories of some buildings on the steep riverbank. Photographs showed brown water submerging vast stretches of the city’s waterfront, including Hongyadong, an 11-story structure that is a popular tourist destination.
As well as being home to a number of multinational companies, the prosperous Yangtze River Basin is a powerhouse of industrial output, generating nearly half of the country’s GDP. Heavy rains are putting the Yangtze River at risk of repeating the devastating floods of 1998 which left more than 4,000 people dead and 14 million homeless. The latest natural disaster comes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and an escalating trade war with the US. But these days, President Xi Jinping has called for China to build an “ecological civilization,” and Yu has found enough government support to start “sponge city” projects in dozens of Chinese cities. The way to do that, Yu said, is by restoring riverbanks, wetlands and lakes, complete with their living “sponges” of soil and vegetation that can absorb and keep water locally.
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Critics of the project, like Chinese geologist Fan Xiao, have said that Three Gorges and other major dam projects may make flooding worse by altering the flow of sedimentation down the river. He told Reuters that at Three Gorges, the storage capacity amounts to less than 9 percent of average floodwaters. Rescuers evacuate residents on a raft through flood waters in Jiujiang in central China’s Jiangxi province July 8. Extreme floods have hit China’s Three Gorges dam, which recorded the largest inflow of water in its history, prompting officials to assure the public it would not be breached. The monsoon season has brought heavy torrential rains and triggered flooding in large parts of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar and Nepal. Scores of people have been killed and more than four million others have been caught up in the devastation across South Asia as well as parts of Southeast Asia according to reports as of mid-July 2020. A natural gas pipeline exploded and several roads collapsed after heavy rains inundated parts of Yulin, a city in China’s northwestern Shaanxi province.
Chao Lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the country, sits squarely in Hefei, the capital city of Anhui province. Brigades of local workers and volunteers fortified the rim of the lake with sand bags last month and put up warning signs on the perimeter because of this season’s dangerously high water levels. The Ministry of Emergency Management estimates that nearly 55 million people from 27 provinces have suffered from record-setting floods.
The last thing China’s burdened, state-run financial institutions need are continued natural disasters. Building 5G base stations and rail lines won’t matter if they get wiped out by floods again and again. Beijing’s ministries have issued streams of climate change-related rules and targets, and China was at one point considered a leader.
China has dealt with flooding throughout its history, but climate change is upping the threat level. As temperatures rise, extreme rainfall will increase and floods will become more frequent in central and eastern China. Using climate models, researchers project that the historical 1-in-100 year high river flow will happen once every 50 to 60 years if the global temperature rises 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Limiting warming to below 2 degrees Celsius is the goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
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Still, experts have sounded confident about Three Gorges Dam’s ability to handle the deluge. While the threat to the 1.4-mile-long dam was serious, the Three Gorges Corp said the reservoir had prepared for the inundation by coordinating with other dams upstream to slow the flow. The structure has been closed since Tuesday and workers have been clearing out the mud that reached its lower levels.
Since then, the amount of cropland that has been damaged has roughly doubled, according to China’s Ministry of Emergency Response. Damage estimates released by analysts also don’t include the potential loss of wheat, corn or other crops, which could be threatened should the flooding spread. Not only did the rainfall ruin crops they were about to collect, but the scale of the flooding has made it impossible to salvage anything from this year. Wuhan, which lies on the Yangtze, was hit by China’s last major floods in 1998, which killed more than 3,000 people and left 14 million homeless. Authorities have promised to minimise flood damage in the city of Wuhan as it struggles to recover from the coronavirus outbreak. It’s also extremely difficult to get any substantial facts out of China concerning the flooding.