Beijing Water

Chinese health authorities panic about the spread of diseases among Three Gorges evacuees

Three Gorges Probe
April 17, 1996

Chinese health authorities are alarmed about the potential spread of diseases among the people being forced to move to make way for the Three Gorges dam, according to an article in a Chinese newspaper, Health Daily.

Among those who have already been resettled to make way for the massive dam, “diseases range from malaria to iodine deficiency disease.” According to the article, the diseases are “linked to miscarriages, premature births and low intelligence in infants.”

The report also warns that iodine deficiency disease is “not under control” and last month, officials ordered salt factories throughout China to produce only iodized salt in an effort to wipe out iodine deficiency disease by the turn of the century. In addition, those being forced to move are “running a high risk of fluorine poisoning.”

If completed, the Three Gorges dam on China’s Yangtze River would be the world’s largest, creating an inland sea the length of North America’s Lake Superior. According to Health Daily, the dam will flood 13 cities, hundreds of villages, 955 factory towns and 115,000 acres of fertile land along the Yangtze River basin.

The dam will forcibly relocate 1.3 million people from their homes. The article urges health officials to “adopt counter-measures to help prevent diseases” among the 50,000 people who have already been relocated.

Meanwhile, an outbreak of dysentry among Chinese workers constructing another reservoir has killed more than 200 people. According to Health Daily, “about 60 percent of the laborers constructing the Songtao reservoir have been afflicted with dysentry.”

Categories: Beijing Water

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