Amidst the widespread flooding that has cost lives and has almost drowned several parts of the country, Central China authorities decided to blow up a dam in order to release the surging waters that are behind it, Sunday.
According to Aljazeera, China state broadcaster CCTV stated that the dam that was destroyed was located in Anhui province on the Chu River. After the destruction of the dam, a drop in the water level by more than two feet is expected. Torrential rains have caused the unexpected rise in water levels on many Chinese rivers including the Yangtze.
As a response to the flooding, China resorted to the same response that it did back in 1998 when more than 2,000 lives were taken by the floods and more than 3 million homes got destroyed. The strategy was to discharge water from dams and embankments by blasting them.
Rising waters across eastern and central China have wreaked havoc. More than 140 people have been missing, some have been presumed dead due to the disaster. Since the beginning of July, more than 24 million residents have been affected as stated by the Ministry of Emergency Management.
Authorities have already different measures to control the surge of water such as trying to divert water back into the reservoirs. This is to keep the water levels manageable with the rise of water in lakes and rivers reaching a record high
Demolishing the Chu River Dam
With the levels of water rising out of control, the authorities were left with no other choice but to demolish the Chu River dam. However, safety precautions were taken before doing so, in order to make sure that people who live within the proximity stayed safe.
According to LA Times, authorities stated that upon blasting the dam, the water level in the river and nearby reservoirs are expected to subside by at least 28 inches. It was also noted that the water that was released by the destruction of the dam was channeled to go to two downstream storage ponds.
According to Channel News Asia, in Anhui at least 35 rivers witnessed watermarks go way beyond warning levels on Saturday. These rivers included the mighty Yangtze and Huaihe. In addition, three floodgates of the Three Gorges Dam were also opened after water level want higher than the flood level by 15 meters.
Meanwhile, in other areas, workers and soldiers have been tasked to test the integrity of embankments. They are also making sure that they hold up to the surging water by shoring up rocks and sandbags on them.
Based on reports, around 1,8 million citizens have been evacuated from their homes. The estimated losses that have been caused by the flooding has reach more than 49 billion yuan or around $7 billion.
It has been noted that major cities have been safe from the floods. But there is still rising concern about other downstream cities which are home to tens of millions of people, including Wuhan.
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