by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Highlighting the dangers of old infrastructure during summer flood season, two dams in northwest China collapsed following torrential rains on Sunday, Reuters reports. Local residents were evacuated and there were no casualties, China’s Ministry of Water Resources said.
China has more than 98,000 reservoirs, which it uses to manage floods, as well as for shipping and to generate power. However, as the government acknowledged, more than 80% of these reservoirs are at least 40 years old. Moreover, China’s deputy water resources minister had warned last year that lack of financing prevented safety checks from being carried out on a third of the country’s reservoirs, Reuters said.
According to the water ministry, Hulunbuir saw an average 87 millimeters of rainfall over the weekend, with 223 millimeters at the Morin Dawa monitoring station.
Situated in the Inner Mongolian city of Hulunbuir, the two dams which collapsed on Sunday had formed reservoirs with a combined water storage capacity of 46 million cubic meters, Reuters reports.
Videos on Chinese social media showed one of the dams caving in and being swept away.
In a WeChat post, Hulunbuir authorities said 16,660 people have been affected by the collapse of the dams; 326,622 mu (53,807 acres) of farmland being underwater, Reuters said. Transport infrastructure has been destroyed as well.
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