Dams and Landslides

One-third of China’s dams unsafe

China Daily
August 8, 2006

‘What I fear most is dam collapses, and I think it’s not just me. Party and state leaders at every level fear this,” said E Jianping, head of China’s flood-fighting agency.

More than a third of China’s 85,000 dams suffer defects from aging and could be threatened by flooding, the chief of China’s flood-fighting agency said as the country continues to be whipped by storms.

E Jingping, secretary general of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and vice minister of water resources, said late on Monday that his biggest worry was the safety of China’s dams, which could easily collapse during heavy storms. He said this during an online chat at http://www.gov.cn, the website of the Chinese central government.

Typhoons and tropical storms have frequently struck eastern and southern China and the surrounding regions from July to August this year. Six typhoons have hit the region so far this year, and the death toll from the latest tropical storm Prapiroon, reached 77, according to a Xinhua report.

In August 1975, some 26,000 people of central China’s Henan Province died after two dams collapsed, E said.

“What I fear most is dam collapses, and I think it’s not just me. Party and state leaders at every level fear this,” he said. “In my work, what worries me most is dam safety,” he said. “We absolutely can’t have a dam collapse.”

With its current limited economic situation, China’s flood disaster relief capabilities are perhaps not as strong as those of developed countries. E said disastrous landslides and mountain torrents often occur in over 1,500 of about 2,400 counties country wide, endangering around two-fifths of Chinese residents. E said the Chinese government has already spent 22.9 billion yuan on repairing dams and improving dam safety.

China has made progress in anticipating and withstanding floods, storms and other disasters. He said China meets world standards in terms of flood information collection, prediction, and government ability to mobilize concerned organizations at all levels.

Categories: Dams and Landslides

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