The China Meteorological Administration issued a “No. 1 Flood” warning as a second month of rain and earthquakes risks collapse of Three Gorges Dam and the safety of 400 million.
Southern China in June suffered its worst flooding since 1940 with the overflowing of 250 rivers impacting 15 million residents and causing at least 121 people dead or missing. The world’s largest hydroelectric dam, the 1.4-mile-wide and 630-foot-high Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtse River with a 5-trillion-gallon capacity, fully opened its seven massive outlets to begin discharging a record 28 acre-feet per second.
But after thirty-one days of rain, a record 16.8 inches falling between Sunday and Monday morning, and inflows running at 40 acre-feet per second after, CMA on July 4 issued an 80-percent risk of thundershowers for each of the next 11 days.
China’s paramount leader, Xi Jinping, in his first public statement on the crisis, called on the country to “put people first and value people’s lives most in the fight against the floods,” according to the Xinhua official state news agency.
Human rights advocates complained as a record 1.2 million people from 13 cities, 140 towns, and 1,350 villages were displaced as Three Gorges Dam’s reservoir filled. But some Chinese geologists also warned that impoundment water weight could create severe earthquake risk due to amplification of the region’s historically low seismicity.
A 2013 academic study published in China’s Geodesy and Geodynamics Journal found that a 2008 magnitude 4.1 tremblor, between the 2003 opening and the 2012 opening of the world’s largest power station, revealed “the intensity and peak ground acceleration of reservoir-induced earthquakes are higher” than past tectonic earthquakes.
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