2020 has been a tough year for basically everyone, but especially the middle and lower class. From pretty much the onslaught there was a pandemic outbreak in Wuhan, China that has spread globally and majorly effected millions of people both from a public health and economic standpoint. Global economies that were flourishing took massive hits to reconcile the virus that originated in central China and released to the world. We are very much still feeling these effects in what is almost August of 2020.
As the world continues to look at how to proceed amidst a pandemic it seems like other hardships keep piling up and effecting those who are non-deserving. After a city of 11million people, Wuhan, got hit with the initial outbreak of COVID19, China saw their first quarterly contraction of GDP in almost 30 years. And as the Chinese looked to the second half of 2020 to rebound their economy and get people’s livelihoods back on track, they have recently been hit with a massive flood season that has impacted more people than the coronavirus all together. China may be on the brink of an absolute disaster.
According to the Wall Street Journal, over 40million people have been effected by widespread flooding along the Yangtze River and has caused billions of dollars worth of damage with 142 people pronounced dead or missing. For reference, this is the worst flooding to hit the region since 1998. The compounding disasters has not helped in the slightest and is leading to devastating results.
The Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2009 and is the largest hydroelectricity factory in the world. This dam is now being tested with all its strength as the rain has continued to fall throughout their monsoon season. It’s very concerning. The Yangtze is the largest river in China, 3rd largest in the world, and runs by some of China’s largest cities, including Wuhan and Shanghai into the East China Sea. It has a long history of flooding throughout time. As the rain continues to fall the fears continue to mount as to what will happen to the millions of people who live along this river. If the dam were to default, it could be a flood of biblical proportions.
Relief floodgates have already been opened to try and stifle the rise of the water that as of Saturday is about 10 meters from overflowing. Now, the Three Gorges Dam is being tested to all its ends, but personally I believe it alone would hold up and control most of the water that is presented to it. It’s a moderately new infrastructure and has had great investment in controlling the water of the Yangtze.
The real problem lies with the 94,000 of other dams that have been constructed in various bodies of water in China along the Yangtze. These dams were constructed in the 1950’s and 1960’s and have not had the maintenance needed to control what has now become a historic flood season. This is seen as a great weak point in China’s water conservation efforts. If these dams can’t hold their own, there’s no telling how much the Three Gorges can support.
If this dam can’t hold, then it’s not too far fetched to say major cities could go by the wayside. The economic calamity will be catastrophic. Thousands, if not millions of lives and homes would be lost. Surrounding towns and villages will be, and basically already are, under water. It’s so sad to see for the Chinese people who have to endure this. Chairman Xi Jinping announced via state-run Xinhua News Agency last week that China has entered a “crucial period” in trying to control the floods as it seems the rain isn’t stopping.
From satellite images we can already see that other relief flood gates have been opened as well that are supposed to supplement the Three Gorges. The dam can hold up to 175 meters of water, and just last week the river was at record 164 meters. Hopefully nothing more disastrous will come about this.
Again, in just about 2 weeks 40million people have already been affected by this flooding. Thousands of homes are already lost. China’s monsoon season has historically been from June through July so maybe the floods will ease up soon. It is scary and I feel for the people who were forced to take extreme measures to try and get control of the coronavirus only to then be pushed back down with these floods.
Hopefully this torrential rain subsides soon. It’s too bad that normal people are being impacted the greatest by these global problems and once one thing eases another starts up again. Because of the pandemic people are struggling and it is extremely difficult to manage everything that’s going on. It’s vital that we work to help those who need it most.
Cheers and stay safe.