China: Three Gorges dam hits highest level, anxiety grows among public
Beijing: With COVID-19 virus cases still emerging from the country, China is bracing for another major challenge as extreme floods have hit Three Gorges dam in Hubei province.
The dam recently recorded the largest inflow of water in its history.
Following the incident, officials even assured people the water level would not be breached.
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, reports The Guardian.
Parts of China witnessed heavy flooding for the past two months.
Officials have repeatedly assured that the dam can withstand the flow of water.
A breach of the dam, a controversial and unprecedented feat of engineering along the Yangtze River, would be embarrassing for China, which took 12 years to build the megaproject, displacing millions and submerging swathes of land, reports The Guardian.
The Three Gorges dam, which can handle inflows of about 98.8m litres a second, is already approaching its capacity. Officials expect water levels in the reservoir, whose dam was built to withstand a water level of 175 metres, to reach 165.5 metres on Saturday, reports the newspaper.
Meanwhile, officials have carried out evacuation process in many parts of the country.
Upstream from the dam, officials in the city of Chongqing, in Sichuan province, evacuated almost 300,000 residents before the flooding, reports The Guardian.
In Chongqing, roads, bridges, parks and a main highway in the commercial district were flooded, affecting 260,000 people and damaging at least 20,000 businesses, officials told the British newspaper.
The flooding threatens to derail the country’s fragile recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, The Guardian newspaper opined.
The outbreak has caused an estimated 179bn yuan in losses and displaced more than 4 million people, officials told the newspaper.