Millions have been displaced in China due to recent flooding in the country.
The Asian Review reports:
Despite reassurances by the government, residents along China’s rivers are increasingly worried that the mitigation capabilities of the Three Gorges Dam might fail after heavy rains lashed parts of the country.
Some 141 people are already missing or dead, and nearly 38 million people have been evacuated since alerts were triggered in June about the flooding of 433 rivers nationwide, the country’s flood control authorities said on Monday.
Rivers are now over warning levels and residents are worried. The CCP is sending reassuring comments on the situation but some are skeptical:
…Zhang Jianping, an activist in Jiangsu, is skeptical.
“With hindsight, I think that all those experts who opposed the buildings of the Three Gorges were right,” Zhang said on Radio Free Asia. “Since it was built, it has never played a role in preventing flooding or droughts, like we thought it would back then.”
Despite protests by residents and environmentalists, the Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2006 after a 12-year build. Millions were displaced as an area of about 600 kilometers was submerged to create the world’s largest dam and hydroelectricity facilities.
Last week we reported China’s massive Three Gorges Dam is at risk of blowing, putting 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:
Pictures show that the dam is now displaced since it was built (see cover photo above) which has many people scared that it might break.
An expert on the region’s food supply, Geoff Quartermaine Bastin, provided this analysis regarding the impact on the world’s food supply should the massive dam break:
China is a leading producer of most agricultural commodities in terms of volume, but it has only about 12% of its land area available for cultivation. Much of that has disappeared under urban developments (many misplaced) and has been polluted by industrial output. China cannot feed itself, so much of its foreign policy is driven by a search for food security. Even to the extent of agreeing to Trump’s trade deal. China looks like it will hold to the deal, e.g., to import soybeans from the US. China views South-east Asia as a critical food supply base and has secured supplies through investments in rice and other crops. Going farther afield, the Chinese have bought farms in Australia and New Zealand, even I believe in Ukraine (wheat). The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is partly driven by the need to secure access to food (Kazakstan, and via Gwadar Port in Pakistan to the Arabian Sea and Suez Canal).
My point here is that it is a mistake to picture China as just one country among many. It is 20% of the world’s population spreading everywhere to secure something that historically has always been a problem because of the natural conditions faced in the homeland.
Irrigation (water management) for agriculture probably formed the basis of Chinese culture thousands of years ago. The Yellow River region and the Yangtze River region were the origins of agricultural development in China. Note the Grand Canal which dates from the 5th century BCE and is the longest irrigation main channel in the world linking the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers. The sophistication of ancient systems is remarkable and they expanded hugely after 1949. Which brings us to the Three Gorges Dam (TGD).
It sits in almost the exact centre (red circle) of the main food production area (green oval).
The collapse of the TGD would destroy all the cropland and livestock downstream, destroy major cities such as Wuhan and could threaten Shanghai. It would affect the Grand Canal systems and so spill over into the Yellow River Region. I’m not going to quantify the damage, it’s very clear that the collapse would be catastrophic.
But not just to China. The country already is a net food importer. Without soybeans from Brazil and the USA and wheat from Australia and Europe and the US, China cannot feed its livestock let alone its human population. The collapse of the TGD would perhaps be the single largest disaster that could affect the world’s food security because aside from the immediate disaster there would be enormous upward pressure on food prices, putting essential staples out of reach of hundreds of millions of people outside China.
The point here is that anyone concerned about food anywhere should want to think through what they might do if the TGD failed.
Here are links to articles by Geoff Quartermaine Bastin about food security risks in general: (in order – one builds on the previous one):