Record rain flooded central China, struck underground subway systems, damaged dams and riverbanks, and caused landslides and collapsed buildings.
Beijing has touted its massive dumb network as a remedy for its devastating annual floods, but recent floods have killed hundreds of people and submerged thousands of homes.
Here are five questions about why China endures severe floods each year.
Does the dam work?
China has historically relied on dams, levees and reservoirs to control the flow of water.
Last year, the Yangtze River dam and reservoir, the longest river in Asia, blocked floods of about 30 billion cubic meters and mitigated downstream floods in Shanghai and elsewhere, according to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management.
But while doubts about the durability of dams built decades ago, the country’s vast water management plans cannot contain all floods.
On Tuesday night, the Army warned that a damaged dam in Henan could “collapse at any time” after a record heavy rain. Armies blasted dam openings to release water and competed throughout the state to reinforce other levees with sandbags.
Last year, authorities in eastern Anhui were forced to blow up two dams to release water from a medium river rising over arable land.
Concerns about the structural integrity of the Yangtze Three Gorges above the Yangtze River, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam built at the intersection of geological faults, are regularly resurfaced.
What are the implications of climate change?
The burden on Chinese dams is Climate change Extreme weather becomes more common.
Benjamin Horton, director of the Earth Observatory in Singapore, told AFP that as the Earth’s atmosphere warms, it retains more water and makes heavy rains heavier.
According to the Ministry of Water Resources of China, water levels reached historic highs in 53 rivers during the summer of last year in China. Officials have warned that the Three Gorges Dam is facing the largest flood peak since it went into operation in 2003.
Meanwhile, in Zhengzhou, the center of this week’s heavy rains, it rained an average of a year in just three days, officials said.
The flood “warns China that climate change is here,” Greenpeace East Asia climate analyst Lee Shuo told AFP.
Is “Sponge City” useful?
The rapid development of the country and the tremendous urbanization also exacerbated the floods.
Urban sprawl covers more and more land with impermeable concrete, increasing the risk of rapid water buildup on the surface due to lack of drainage during heavy rains.
Houghton also said that some of the country’s large lakes have been dramatically reduced in size.
One of the government’s solutions is the “Sponge City” program launched in 2014.
We aim to replace the impermeable urban surface with porous materials (such as permeable pavement). Green spaceDrainage areas and reservoirs to prevent water from accumulating on the ground.
“The purpose is to reduce the impact of rainwater on drains and green areas,” he told AFP, a water policy researcher at the National University of Singapore.
Who is suffering the most from the flood?
But the sponge city will be a little comforting Rural community By a detoured water route that has seriously damaged homes and crops.
“Although most of the city dwellers in big cities in China are spared from the rise waterMany of the country’s hinterlands along the Yangtze River were at the forefront. “
In order to save the densely populated cities, the entire village is routinely flooded and residents are evacuated.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, stormwater has recently damaged about 20,000 hectares of crops in rural areas around Zhengzhou, with direct economic costs in excess of $ 11 million.
What more can you do?
China is also looking to strengthen flood surveillance and early evacuation to reduce the human costs of floods.
According to Xinhua, Anqing, Anhui Province, China, uses virtual reality goggles linked to river surveillance cameras that send images to inspectors using the 5G Internet, in addition to traditional weather surveillance technology. increase.
Last year, the Ministry of Emergency Situations announced that the number of people killed or missing as a result of the June-August summer floods had dropped to 219. This is less than half the annual average for the last five years.
However, economic costs surged 15% to reach 179 billion yuan ($ 26 billion).
Ultimately, flood prevention also requires global action on climate change, Tortajada said.
“The countries are ready, but the whole world is not,” she told AFP.
© 2021 AFP
Quote: Why is China facing a record flood? (July 21, 2021) Obtained July 21, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-china.html
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Why is China facing a record flood?
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