As floods wreak havoc in China’s Henan province, the military has been dispatched to prevent a dam from collapsing. Floods have already washed away two dams elsewhere in China this week.
Heavy rain and mounting flooding flooded Henan province in central China on Tuesday, flooding subway stations in Zhengzhou city and washing vehicles off the road. But Tuesday night, the nearby city of Luoyang and its seven million residents faced an even more sobering threat: the collapse of the Yihetan Dam, which is holding back the waters of the city’s Yellow River.
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The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced this on Tuesday “a breakthrough of 20 meters” took place in the dam, and that the whole structure “could collapse at any moment.” In a post on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, the PLA said troops had been sent to blow up the dam and divert the floodwaters.
Photos shared by Shanghai Daily news site show some of what it reported as “20,000 soldiers and armed police officers” deployed in Yihetan and another dam in the province to prevent further flooding.
Flooding is common during China’s rainy season, but the country’s rapid development in recent decades has resulted in an abundance of dams, and as a result, rivers that once flowed into flood plains have been diverted.
Two dams collapsed in China’s Inner Mongolia on Monday, flooding more than 20,000 hectares of land and washing away dozens of bridges and culverts. About 16,000 local residents were affected, the Global Times reported, and many were forced to evacuate.
At least 12 people have been killed and about 100,000 people evacuated in the city of Zhengzhou, the state-owned People’s Daily reported Tuesday evening.
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