Accessibility links

Breaking News

Broken Levees Trap Thousands in China Floods

An aerial view shows a flooded town in China's Anhui province, July 20, 2020. (China Daily via Reuters)

Broken levees left over 10,000 people stranded in eastern China on Tuesday, as flooding across the country becomes more severe.

On Sunday, high water overcame flood defenses around Guzhen, a town in Anhui province.

Flood water was up to 3 meters deep, according to Guzhen’s Communist Party secretary, Wang Qingjun.

Since the flooding began in June, over 141 people have been reported dead or missing, 150,000 homes were damaged, and losses are estimated at $9 million.

Many parts of Anhui Province resorted to drastic measures to mitigate the disaster. One dam was blasted open on Sunday to relieve pressure from flood water behind it, and sluice gates were opened on the Xiangjiaba Dam Monday. While crops and forests were flooded, it was hoped the intentional release will save the area from even greater damage later.

The Xiangjiaba Dam has only opened its gates 15 times since it was built in 1953.

An increase in rainfall along the Yellow River and the Huai River is expected through Friday, according to China’s Meteorological Administration.

Despite torrential and devastating rainfall, the official Xinhua news agency reported that the country’s death toll and economic losses for 2020 so far are below the annual average.

China’s heaviest recent flooding occurred in 1998, when over 2,000 people died and almost 3 million houses were ruined. The damage then was primarily along the Yangtze River.