Dam breach triggers floods in central China

Amid a summer of unusual weather, Chinese officials scrambled on Saturday to contain floodwaters brought on by a dam failure in central China, according to state media.

The breach, according to state news agency Xinhua, happened on Friday afternoon on a section of an embankment near the coast of Dongting Lake in the province of Hunan, central China.

Although there were no initial reports of injuries, state broadcaster CCTV said that about 6,000 people had to leave the surrounding neighborhoods because to the 226-meter (740-foot) break.

It released video showing lake water rushing through a large opening in a dyke, flooding fields and sloping over the roofs of village houses.

The country’s road monitoring centre said Saturday traffic controls had been imposed on all roads leading in and out of Hunan’s Huarong county — home to around half a million people — “due to flood prevention needs”.

“During the control period, vehicles other than those assisting with flood prevention are prohibited from passing through,” the centre said in a statement on social media platform Weibo.

President Xi Jinping “urged all-out rescue and relief work to safeguard people’s lives and property”, Xinhua reported Saturday.

According to Xinhua, the disaster management ministry sent out about 800 personnel, close to 150 trucks, and dozens of boats to help seal the breach and aid in flood rescue efforts.

According to CCTV, which cited the ministries of finance and emergency management, the central government has set aside an additional 540 million yuan ($74 million) in relief assistance for Hunan and other disaster-affected areas.

China is experiencing an extremely hot summer with flooding in the central and southern areas and rolling heat waves throughout most of the north.

The Asian behemoth is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, which experts believe cause global warming and increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather.

According to state media, rainstorms last week in eastern China caused the Yangtze and other rivers to flood, forcing nearly a quarter of a million people to be evacuated.

Last month, terrible landslides and mountain floods struck Hunan; in addition, 38 people died from floods in the southern Guangdong province.

Also, according to CCTV on Saturday, the number of fatalities from a tornado that struck the eastern Shandong province on Friday increased to five, while scores more were injured.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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