TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video surfaced on Monday (July 13) showing a dike along China's largest freshwater lake, Poyang Lake, bursting.
As the vaunted Three Gorges Dam continues to fail to live up to its purported purpose of "flood control," yet another area downstream, Poyang Lake, is seeing its worst flooding on record. As torrential rains batter central and southern China for the second-straight month, the water levels in Poyang Lake on Saturday (July 11) had already exceeded the 22.52 meters recorded during the 1998 flood, the previous all-time record, reported China's state-run mouthpiece Xinhua on Tuesday (July 14).
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) voicebox then wrote that Jiangxi province officials are making every effort to deal with the disaster while raising the flood warning to its highest level, a "red alert." The news site then claimed that the Three Gorges Dam is being utilized to "ease the pressure at the middle and lower reaches of the river's main course."
Weeks of incessant rains have led to dangerously rising water levels in rivers and lakes across Jiangxi, with Xinhua acknowledging that 'several embankment breaches" have taken place. According to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters, water levels have exceeded warning marks in 2,439 km of the 2,545 km of riverside and lakeside embankments.
This has already resulted in 14 levee sections being breached in Poyang County, which is situated next to Poyang Lake. By Sunday afternoon (July 12), the flooding had affected more than 5.5 million people in Jiangxi province, forcing nearly half a million to be evacuated from low-lying areas.
According to the headquarters, floodwaters have already destroyed over 510,700 hectares of crops and inflicted RMB$8.13 billion (US$1.16 billion) in economic losses. The government agency forecasts a new wave of rain will strike the area beginning on Tuesday (July 15).
The Xinhua article then praised the Three Gorges Dam as the "largest water-control system along the Yangtze River" and boasted of its ability to "ease pressure at the middle and lower reaches" of the river. It claimed that the outward flow of the dam has been cut in half to 19,000 cubic meters per second since July 7.
However, a satellite image from July 9 appears to show that all the floodgates at the dam have been opened. Yet China has only admitted to opening two floodgates on June 29 and three on July 2.
On Monday, human rights activist Jennifer Zeng posted a video showing a dike along Poyang Lake breaking on July 9, as well as houses surrounded by water and aerial footage of Poyang County being inundated by floodwaters. It also showed footage demonstrating that the water levels have surpassed the 22.52-meter mark set in 1998.