Three Gorges Probe

China braces for extreme flooding

by Mary-Anne Toy , The Age (Australia)

May 25, 2007

Chinese authorities are preparing for potentially catastrophic floods along the Yangtze River where the giant Three Gorges dam is being built as the country braces itself for extreme summer weather conditions.


A senior flood control official has warned that some of the country’s most affluent and populous cities along the Yangtze, including Nanjing, Wuhan and Chongqing, could be in danger of a repeat of the 1998 floods that killed more than 3000 people, left 14 million homeless and caused $A29 billion in losses.

The Ministry of Land and Resources issued an emergency notice on Wednesday requesting local authorities implement disaster response plans and inspect reservoirs, roads and houses in the region. Since construction on the Three Gorges dam began in 1994, authorities have reinforced more than 2200 kilometres of river bank, dredged 5000 kilometres of river bed and repaired or strengthened 2833 reservoirs to meet concerns that the dam would cause soil erosion and increase flood damage.

Apart from generating electricity, the dam was justified by the central government as being crucial to flood control along the Yangtze river valley, which is home to a third of China’s population and has been subjected to catastrophic droughts and floods since recorded history.

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