Yangtze River Floods

Key Facts
63 million people are affected.
219 people are missing or dead (as of 20 August, 2020).
15 million acres of farmland has been destroyed.
1.2 million troops have been deployed to help evacuate people.
The economic losses are $26 billion.
About $66.5 million has been allocated in support and flood control.
Flooding may damage a nearby UNESCO heritage site: the Leshan Giant Buddha.

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China is in its third month of extreme flooding. The catastrophic damage has spread to a region that includes Chongqing, a municipality with a population of 30 million. 63 million people have been affected by the flooding and an area of farmland the size of West Virginia has been destroyed. The government has deemed the flood as detrimental as the coronavirus pandemic in terms of “shocks”. The Chinese military has mobilized 1.2 million troops across 17 provinces to help reinforce roads and embankments as well as aid in the evacuation of 170,000 civilians. This past week, water levels at the Three Gorges Dam and in Chongqing hit a record high. Political officials have gone as far as calling the massive flooding a “practical test of the leadership and command system of our army”.

The Three Gorges Dam has reached its highest water level since being built in 2003. This is the fifth time this year that the Yangtze river has spilled over its banks and broke the record high water levels original established in 1981. Political analysts say that Chinese citizens may begin to question the effectiveness of their government after the catastrophic problems this year. The floods have caused at least $26 billion in economic losses as of late August. At least 219 people are missing or dead. Landslides have been a major health issue and have killed at least 9 in the past weeks. The flow of water into the Three Gorgeous Dam reservoir has reached 75 million liters a second. Although officials said the dam was in good condition, the water level is at maximum capacity.

The flooding is threatening UNESCO World Heritage sites. Citizens fear that the dam has reached capacity and will soon breach, putting millions of lives in danger. Dam inflow was at almost 99,000 cubic yards of water per second for nine hours. The National Ministry for Water Resources says this is the worst flooding since 1981. 4 million people have been evacuated according to the Ministry of Emergency Management. The Leshan Giant Buddha is a 1,200 year old stone statue carved into the Leshan Mountain, this statue is at risk as water levels rise just above the buddha’s feet for the first time since 1949. China has allocated $66.5 million to support flood control and disaster relief in four different regions according to Chinese government.


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