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Severe flooding in China displaces over 100,000, threatens UNESCO heritage site

Severe flooding in China displaces over 100,000, threatens UNESCO heritage site

This is the worst flooding since 1981, according to the National Ministry for Water Resources

Authorities in south-west China were forced to evacuate over 100,000 people due to flooding on the upper reaches of the Yangtze.

The floods have also endangered a 1,200-year-old UNESCO world heritage site, a 71-metre (233ft) Leshan Giant Buddha situated in the Sichuan province. As per reports, the flood water has reached the statues toes for the first time since 1949.

The Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2003 and it is the worst flooding it has seen since. At one point in time, the reservoirs of the dam saw an inflow of 99,000 cubic yards of water per second for nine hours. According to the National Ministry for Water Resources, this is the worst flooding since 1981.

Zhang Boting, deputy secretary general at the China Society for Hydropower Engineering believes that the three gorges dam is a big help in the control of floods. “Without it, the flood situation this year would be worse than 1998,” he said in an interview. “The Three Gorges Dam has been doing a great job. We should understand that fully taming the flow of any river, the Yangtze River included, is simply beyond the realm of engineering.”

Zhang called out the unfinished reservoir projects up river as the main culprits of flooding in Sichuan province and the area around the city of Chongqing. He, however, did not expect these projects to be completed for at least another decade. “It’d be ideal if these projects can finish soon and together with them, Three Gorges Dam would work much better to control the floods,” he said. “It won’t get worse from here.”

The Chinese government said it has allocated about 460 million Yuan, about $66.5 million, for the flood relief efforts in the affected areas.

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