TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As southern China sees some of its worst flooding in 80 years, videos have surfaced showing extreme quantities of water inundating 10 provinces and cities, threatening the vaunted Three Gorges Dam.
As China's Yangtze River Basin enters its flood season, the upper reaches of the Three Gorges Dam are seeing the highest flood levels since 1940. Weather China has issued its highest warning for flooding and rain for the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River to Guizhou.
The rainfall is expected to peak on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 23 and 24). Flood warnings have been issued in more than 10 provinces and municipalities in China, including Guizhou, Chongqing, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, and Guangxi.
Flooding in Guizhou Province. (Weibo photo)
In Guizhou, torrential floods have inundated farmland and houses, with 6 counties submerged. Injuries and deaths are unknown, with reports ranging between three to 20 people.
The Chongqing Municipal Hydrological Monitoring Station on Monday (June 22) issued its first red alert flood warning in 80 years for the Qijiang River. It is predicted that there will be severe flooding in the area within 8 hours.
Based on live Chinese news broadcasts, it seems that the flood is currently passing through Qijiang District. Gas stations, street lights, and telephone poles have disappeared beneath a brown soup of floodwaters.
Flooding along Yangtze River in Chongqing. (Weibo photo)
In the areas of Zunyi and Tongren, Guizhou Province, there have been reports of continuous rains over the past week, resulting in floods, mountain slides, power outages, and road closures. Some Chinese media outlets report that the death toll has exceeded 20, but the official Chinese government statistics only list 3 deaths.
Reports from various local media outlets have been chaotic, with some having lost communications due to the floodwaters. Other outlets have seen their vehicles washed away by the deluge, with actual casualties likely much higher than official government statistics.
One of the worst-hit areas is Mugua Township in Guizhou Province. It is seeing the worst flooding in four decades with roads buried beneath up to four meters of water.
Floodwaters rise in Chongqing. (Weibo photo)
Many people are believed to be trapped by the floodwaters in the province's Bajiao Township. In Tongren City in Guizhou's Yanhe Tujia Autonomous County, a landslide has sealed off the highway tunnel to Guanzhou Township where houses and shops are also swamped with floodwaters.
The Guizhou Meteorological Bureau has continued to issue red warnings for torrential rain in Wuchuan County, Zheng'an County, Yanhe County, and Tongzi County. In addition, 13 counties under the jurisdiction of Zunyi City and Tongren City have issued yellow flood warnings.
Given that the Qijiang is a tributary of the Yangtze River, the Three Gorges Dam will be facing its biggest test since it opened in 2003. At least one Chinese scientist, hydrologist Wang Weiluo (王維洛), is questioning the dam's integrity, given numerous cracks observed and substandard concrete used in construction.
In the tweet below, a massive cascade of water can be seen plunging off the side of a city floodwall. The Chinese netizen who posted it wrote: "The mountain city of Chongqing becomes a water city. The Three Gorges Dam is in danger."
山城重慶變水城，三峽大壩危險了！ pic.twitter.com/iPojRXF0pX— 滯泰江陰趙長傅 (@DhyhpA4mwiCAE39) June 22, 2020
Video showing flooding in Guizhou Province.
Compilation of flooding in Guizhou.
6月21号起 贵州省— 刘妞妞2 (@niuniu_Liu2) June 22, 2020
截至 6 月 22 号
Drone footage showing flooding in Chongqing.
The drone footage of the largest flooding since 1940 passing the the Qijiang River's Chongqing section on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River on Monday. #Chongqing #China pic.twitter.com/J4ZZPqb5VA— iChongqing (@iChongqing_CIMC) June 23, 2020
Emergency sirens sound in Chongqing as floodwaters rise.
Tweet showing flooding in Chongqing's Qijiang District.
#BREAKING #China Chinese government just issued emergency flood warning in Chongqing Qijiang District.— W. B. Yeats (@WBYeats1865) June 22, 2020
Official notice: "The most severe 'supra-historical' flood since 1940 would reach Chongqing in 8 hours. 40 thousand people were evacuated."
Video appearing to show a large structure being swept away by a flooded river in Chongqing.