Chinese army warned Yihetan dam ‘could collapse at any time’

The Chinese army this week warned that a dam in rain-drenched Henan Province, in the centre of the country, "could collapse at any time" following damage caused by what local media described as a "one-in-1,000-year weather event".

The Yihetan dam is located in the ancient city of Luoyang, which has a population of around seven million and is located some 110km west of Zhengzhou (pictured), Henan’s capital, where at least 33 people have died in severe flooding.

According to the AFP news agency, the People’s Liberation Army said in a statement: "On 20 July, a 20m breach occurred at the Yihetan dam … the riverbank was severely damaged and the dam may collapse at any time." 

Then, on the evening of 20 July, the army blasted the dam to release flood waters, the Associated Press reported, giving no details on how the blast was carried out. 

In Zhenzhou, a year’s worth of rain fell in three days, flooding the streets and subway, damaging reservoirs, collapsing roads and cutting power to a hospital.

The official death toll in Zhengzhou had yesterday risen to 33 with eight people missing. According to reports, 12 died when a subway tunnel flooded and two when a wall collapsed in another district of the city.

Separately, in the city of Zhuhai in southern Guangdong province, the bodies of 13 construction workers have been recovered from a motorway tunnel being built under a reservoir that flooded on 15 July, with a fourteenth worker presumed dead, reports Reuters. 

The Shijingshan tunnel is being built to link Zhuhai to a bridge connecting it to Macau and Hong Kong, according to Reuters.

Image: Debris on streets of flood stricken Zhengzhou, Henan province, 21 July 2021 (Wzl19371/CC BY-SA 4.0) 

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