Continuing heavy rains in China are adding to problems already caused by July’s floods. The Three Gorges dam is again at the centre of attention, with news now that debris from the floods has built up so much at the dam that its lock gates may be blocked to river traffic. In places the compacted debris and rubbish is thick enough to walk across.
Northeastern China is the latest river basin to feel the pressure. At least 100 people are dead or missing after Jilin province was hit by flooding. The Songhua river dam had to be opened to release floodwaters, and cut pipes mean over 300,000 people in Tonghua near the North Korean border have lost drinking water.
Last week supplies were also cut in Jilin itself, a city of 4.5 million people, when toxic chemicals were washed into the Songhua. Barrels of the potentially deadly trimetholchlorosilicane are still being fished out of the water, but local officials insist supplies are safe to drink.