Two dams collapse in China’s Inner Mongolia region after torrential rain, more than 16000 affected

In China, two dams have collapsed in Hulun Buir, in northwestern region of Inner Mongolia after heavy rainfall.

The dams, collapsed on Sunday afternoon the water ministry said on Monday, highlighting the safety risks posed by ageing infrastructure during the summer flood season.

They had formed reservoirs with a combined water storage capacity of 46 million cubic metres, the Ministry of Water Resources said. People living downstream were evacuated, with no casualties reported, it said. According to Hulunbuir’s city government, 16,660 people were affected, 21,708 hectares of farmlands flooded, and 22 bridges destroyed. Other transport infrastructure had also been destroyed.

Footage posted on Chinese social media showed one of the dams being completely swept away by the water, inundating nearby fields. China has more than 98,000 reservoirs used to regulate floods, generate power and facilitate shipping. More than 80% of them are four decades old or older, and some pose a safety risk, the government has acknowledged. As per media reports, Wei Shanzhong, deputy water resources minister, told a briefing this year that due to lack of financial resources, nearly a third of the total number have not had mandatory safety appraisals completed.

Extreme weather has hit several parts of the world in recent weeks with flooding in Europe and heatwaves in North America, adding to worries about climate change.

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