BEIJING • The Chinese authorities blew up part of a dam in eastern Anhui province to relieve flood pressure, local media reported, as heavy rain continues to swell rivers across parts of the country.
Rising waters across central and eastern China have left more than 140 people dead or missing, and floods have affected almost 24 million since the start of the month, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.
The authorities have adopted measures such as diverting water into back-up reservoirs to keep levels manageable as major rivers and lakes hit record highs.
In Anhui, part of the dam on the Chu River was demolished on Sunday as water levels inched close to historic highs.
The local authorities said the action was taken to ensure the safety of people living nearby.
“Affected by continuous downpours and upstream flows, the water level of the Chu River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, has moved from a slow rise to a sharp one,” local media said yesterday.
The blasting of the dam was expected to reduce the level of the Chu River by around 70cm, the state-run Global Times reported.
Chinese media said the released water was being channelled into two downstream storage ponds.
A total of 35 rivers and lakes in Anhui saw high-water marks exceed warning levels by noon last Saturday – including the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers – the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Over the weekend, the Three Gorges Dam also opened three floodgates after the water rose more than 15m above flood level.
Last week, soldiers erected sandbag flood barriers in a city near China’s largest freshwater lake after the heaviest rainfall in nearly six decades drenched the Yangtze River basin.
24m Number of people in central and eastern China who have been affected by floods since the start of July.