Sustained torrential rains have caused extensive flooding in central China in recent weeks. Nightmare memories have been revived of 1998, when severe floods left more than 4000 people dead and caused extensive economic damage. Thousands of People’s Liberation Army soldiers have been sent to the Yangtse River basin to provide emergency services to build dykes, enforce embankments and dig channels to release water.
In response to the build-up of floodwaters upstream, authorities have been discharging large amounts of water from the dam. The swell of water caused by upstream flooding reached 55,000 cubic meters per second late last week, exceeding the official warning level of 50,000 cubic meters. The emergency discharges have inevitably exacerbated flooding in areas downstream from the dam.
Massive flooding along the Yangtze is nothing new for China. In 1931, more than 3 million people died during a huge flood in one of the worst natural disasters of the 20th century. Nevertheless, the current situation is the first major test that the Three Gorges Dam has been put to.
There is no reason to think that the structure of the dam itself is under threat.
Other than the fact that Communist QC isn’t exactly top-notch.