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World’s largest dam in ‘danger of collapse’ amid historic floods — 400 million people at risk, China


A flood alert has been raised near Three Gorges Dam in China– the largest hydropower project in the world– as the country grapples with its worst flooding in 70 years. Torrential rains have been causing havoc throughout the southwest and central region this month, with many rivers bursting their banks, prompting mass evacuations. As many as 400 million people may be at risk, however, local media Global Times said experts have dismissed reports that the dam is at a brink of collapse.

Heavy rains over the past weeks have led to natural disasters being declared in 24 provinces and municipalities in the southwest and central China, especially areas near the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam. 

According to Asia Times Financial, this is the largest flooding since 1949, and it has caused major problems to the dam, which is located in Sandouping Town, near Yichang in Hubei Province.

Zhao Yunfa, the deputy chief engineer of the overflow dispatch communications center at the Three Gorges Project, warned people: "Do not pin your hopes on the Three Gorges Dam," as its flood storage capacity is limited.

Approximately 400 million people residing near the dam are now at risk.

Zhang Shuguang, director of the Three Gorges Corporation Hub Management Bureau, said flood control measures for the entire Yangtze River Basin could not depend on the dam to dominate the flood.

More than 85 million people have been affected by heavy seasonal rains this month, and the damage has amounted to 2.9 billion dollars or  20.7 billion yuan so far.

Zhang further warned that the largest flood 71 years ago may happen this year, as rainfall in the dam's catchment area poses a significant challenge. 

The government then moved to defend the dam's structural integrity as the Chinese newspaper Global Times said experts have dismissed "rumors hyped by some western media" that the Three Gorges Dam is at risk of collapse.

It added that experts noted, "the dam is intact and has spare capacity to hold the current inflows of water after southern parts of China experienced heavy rainfall and the Three Gorges reservoir's water level exceeded the flood control line."

Guo Xun, a research fellow at the Institute of Engineering Mechanics at the China Earthquake Administration in Beijing, denied the reports and said the dam is capable of holding far larger inflows as it is reportedly designed to meet "once-in-a-millennium" water level at 70 000 cubic meters per second.

Heavy rain is forecast to continue over south China, particularly over south Guizhou, guanxi, and Hunan on June 26.

Featured image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2. Acquired June 25, 2020.

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  1. China floods threaten collapse of world’s largest dam: The Three Gorges Dam

    The following maybe of interest only to some of you. Should it happen the repercussions in some form or another may affect all of us.
    I came across a mathematical study the other day in reference to the water pressure against the dam walls of the Three Gorges dam which was rather impressive with a conservative estimate of about 25 million tons of pressure. You may find this short movie clip on YouTube by searching for FORCE OF WATER ON CHINA’S 3 GORES DAM WALL.

    As far as the stability of this dam is concerned, from time to time I run across the comment that the base of this dam is not anchored to the bedrock beneath, since it is known as a gravity dam. The thought crossed my mind that this may have been done on purpose, why? From what I understand is that this area is subject to frequent quakes and needless to say, should there be a solid connection to the bedrock beneath it would transfer any motion throughout the whole dam.

    With the dam being constructed from individual blocks any severe motion of the ground beneath could place quite a bit of stress on any of the individual sections forcing them to move. This along with the enormous water pressure behind the dam wall, could quite possible expedite the demise of this dam. For this reason I believe, maybe I am wrong, they choose to let the ground slide independently from the structure resting on top.

    Either way, I would not feel comfortable or safe living anywhere downstream of this dam. Not only that, but should this dam give way I would not be surprised to see that it would usher in some big political changes, which would be to the benefit of several neighboring countries let alone Hong Kong

  2. Even with all this going on, China will still continue to hack into every Western computer system it can find in its never-ending attempts to destabilise the West. They are a pariah to the world.

  3. Due to the trade war and the Wuhan virus, the smog in China has been reduced significantly. Without smog to reflect the solar radiation, global warming effects will be truly reflected.

  4. The reason for the increase in the intensity of climate events and geological activities is the increase in cosmic rays. However, most likely, the rate of cosmic rays in the Heliosphere and the magnetosphere of our planet will reach its maximum values in the second half of the year

    1. The world is at changing phase ..for the past million years we been utilizing fossil fuels…destroying earths resources for our daily consumption and this why we are experiencing this global catastrophe…nature has its on way how to get back to us..

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