China is facing major issues on many fronts and now may soon be facing a food shortage. With recent torrential rains and flooding, dams are being blasted and other dams, like the Three Gorges Dam, are at the brink.
The following is from Geoffrey Quartermaine Bastin, CEO, FoodWorks Group of Companies:
The Beijing Government is facing a crisis on many fronts. Not only has it been caught out with the Wuhan SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) virus, but its efforts to expand influence in the South China Sea (what the Vietnamese call the East Sea) have outraged its neighbors in ASEAN and forged the so-called “Quad” alliance of the USA, India, Japan, and Australia. Domestically the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has tried to emulate Nazis by herding Uighur prisoners onto trains, a drone video that has shocked even a hardened journalist like Andrew Marr at the BBC. The list of egregious offenses is a long one including bans on Australian beef, the security law in Hong Kong, and long-term attitudes to Taiwan.
As if this was not enough, torrential monsoon rains have caused severe flooding in Central and Southern China. So far, the cost has been around USD 2 to 3 billion with perhaps half a million people displaced. Of course, China has a long experience with floods, the worst being in 1998 that caused USD 48 billion of damage and was the worst in recorded history (except, I suppose, the one that floated Noah’s Ark). Even so, the floods are not over and worse may follow.
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We have reported over the past month on the raging rains and floods in China and concerns with the massive Three Gorges Dam (TGP) breaking and causing a world food shortage. Last week China finally admitted that its TGP has ‘deformed slightly’ but claims it happened over last weekend, ignoring reports of this happened long ago.
The Asian Times reported:
In a rare revelation, Beijing has admitted that its 2.4-kilometer Three Gorges Dam spanning the Yangtze River in Hubei province “deformed slightly” after record flooding.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted the operator of the the world’s largest hydroelectric gravity dam as saying that some nonstructural, peripheral parts of the dam had buckled.
The dam was a pet project of the late Premier Li Peng and a monumental pride of the nation when it blocked and diverted Asia’s largest river in 1997.
The deformation occurred last Saturday when the flood from western provinces including Sichuan and Chongqing along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River peaked at a record-setting 61,000 cubic meters per second, according to China Three Gorges Corporation, a state-owned enterprise that manages the dam and the sprawling power plant underneath it.
The company noted that parts of the dam had “deformed slightly,” displacing some external structures, and seepage into the main outlet walls had also been reported throughout the 18 hours on Saturday and Sunday when water was discharged though its outlets.
Two weeks ago we reported that a TGD break would put 400 million people at risk. The problem is that China once claimed the dam would withstand a 10,000 year flood, then a 1,000 year flood and now only a 100 year flood. Then in 2018 it was reported online that pictures show that the Three Gorges Dam has moved:
China has already blasted one dam and opened up flood gates in other dams to reduce the pressure and flooding in the country:
Within 76 hrs 30 mins, the Wangjia Dam on Huai River in Fuyang opened 13 gates to discharge 375mln m³ of flood on July 20-23, affecting 195000 villagers in the Mengwa flood storage area. Farmers rushed to save crops&evacuate before the flood arrived. https://t.co/9jiS6B0B5x pic.twitter.com/aJGSDu7VBz
— The Paper 澎湃新闻 (@thepapercn) July 25, 2020
Bastin notes that China is the world’s largest food producer however the land that can be cultivated for food production is only about 12% of China’s total land mass. In spite of its production, China is a net food importer. The floods are impacting the 12 of China’s land mass where food is produced.