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China’s massive flooding: 100,000 evacuated, Three Gorges Dam facing historic flood peak

07:52 | 20/08/2020

More than 100,000 people have been evacuated from areas on the upper reaches of China's Yangtze river as flooding threatened a 1,200-year-old World Heritage Site.

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chinas massive flooding 100000 evacuated three gorges dam facing historic flood peak
Floodwater lapped the feet of the Leshan Giant Buddha after heavy rains that triggered flooding and forced evacuations. Photo: Reuters

More than 100,000 people have been evacuated from areas on the upper reaches of China's Yangtze river as flooding threatened a 1,200-year-old World Heritage Site.

Staff, police and volunteers used sandbags to try to protect the 71-metre (233-foot) Leshan Giant Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage site in southwestern Sichuan province, as muddy flood water rose over its toes for the first time since 1949, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

chinas massive flooding 100000 evacuated three gorges dam facing historic flood peak
The swollen Tuojiang River in Sichuan province. Photo: AFP

Sichuan, through which the Yangtze river flows, raised its emergency response to the maximum level on August 18 to cope with a new round of torrential rainfall.

The Yangtze Water Resources Commission, the government body that oversees the river, declared a red alert late on August 18, saying water at some monitoring stations was expected to exceed “guaranteed” flood protection levels by over 5 metres, Reuters said.

Three Gorges Dam to confront largest-ever flood

chinas massive flooding 100000 evacuated three gorges dam facing historic flood peak
Aerial photo taken on July 27, 2020 shows floodwater being discharged from the Three Gorges Dam in central China's Hubei Province. Photo:Xinhua

According to Global Times, the Three Gorges Dam in Central China's Hubei province on August 19 was set to face the largest ever flood peak since it was built.

The reservoir has been ready to confront the challenge by coordinating with dams at its upper stream to retain the flood water, said the Three Gorges Corp.

The latest hydrometeorological forecasts estimated the inflow flood peak of the Three Gorges project will reach 73,000 cubic meters per second at 8 am August 20, the largest volume since it was built in 2003.

To confront the flood peak, dams in the upstream of the Yangtze River - including Wudongde, Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba dams, also managed by the Three Gorges Corp - will work together under "elaborate deployment and operation" to jointly retain the flood, the Three Gorges Corp said in a statement it sent to the Global Times on August 19.

The dams will sufficiently exert the flood defense function of a cascade reservoir within the basin, and are expected to ease the flood defense pressure for Southwest China's Sichuan province and Chongqing Municipality, as well as the Three Gorges project, according to the statement.

It is estimated the inflow water peak will be cut down to 68,000 cubic meters per second from 70,000, the Xinhua News Agency reported on August 19.

Meanwhile, the discharge flow of the Three Gorges project will increase to 46,000 cubic meters per second from 42,000 under the demand of the Changjiang Water Resources Commission under the Ministry of Water Resources.

On August 15, the Three Gorges Dam withstood the No.4 flood of the Yangtze River of the year, which had an inflow of 62,000 cubic meters per second.

Two days after, the No.5 flood occurred along the upstream of the Yangtze River.

Several branches of the upstream of the Yangtze River saw record flood peaks due to constant heavy rainfall. /.

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