• Business Business

The Chinese government is purposefully flooding certain towns and neighborhoods: 'A pecking order of protection'

Many residents did not know they were living in what is known as a "flood storage area."

Typhoon Doksuri was the most powerful typhoon

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Typhoon Doksuri has wreaked havoc in China, causing severe flooding in a number of cities since July. But it's not just the typhoon that has put areas in the northeast part of the country in deep water. 

The Chinese government has diverted flood waters away from Beijing and toward areas with lower populations, according to The Spectator, effectively putting a number of its own residents in danger.

What happened?

CNN reported in July that Typhoon Doksuri was the most powerful typhoon to ever make landfall in China. The capital, Beijing, was one of the major areas in its path. 

The country made a decision to minimize destruction in the capital, which is home to 22 million people, by diverting floodwater to neighboring areas such as Bazhou and Zhuozhou, which are home to fewer than one million residents each, according to The Spectator.

Zhuozhou had already been battered by the storm, with the BBC reporting it was cut off from neighboring areas. Residents could not access water or power. 

However, the fact that Zhuozhou had to take a lot of the floodwaters from the capital exacerbated the situation, making things deadly for residents. 

Typhoon Doksuri was possibly made worse by the effects of Typhoon Khanun, which brought moisture from the tropics, according to the UK's National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). 

In all, the NCAS said on Aug. 10 that Beijing saw nearly 30 inches of rainfall between July 29 and Aug. 2, marking it as the heaviest storm in 140 years.  

How and why was the water diverted?

According to the BBC, the flood path was moved using "connected dams, reservoirs, and waterways."

Chinese engineer Wang Weiluo told the outlet, "China's flood control network has a pecking order of protection giving priority to big important cities like Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, with the lowest order of importance being rural areas." 

While there is anger among residents about the policy, the minimal warning was also a serious problem. 

According to The Spectator, many residents did not know they were living in what is known as a "flood storage area," and they were also only advised to evacuate once it was already too late. 

How can we prevent typhoons?

The typhoon is just one extreme weather event that hit China in 2023, with a heat wave in July seeing temperatures topping 104 degrees Fahrenheit in Beijing, as CNN reported

Officials also said the number of hot days over a six-month period has broken the country's record. On average, using data from the National Climate Center, CNN noted areas across the country witnessed 4.1 days of above-95-degree Fahrenheit heat.  

Increased frequency of extreme weather events is a consequence of global heating. 

According to the NCAS, "Warmer temperatures provide favorable conditions for typhoons to become more hazardous, as the higher humidity in warmer air and the warmer sea surface temperatures could lead to stronger tropical storms." 

With that in mind, reducing harmful carbon pollution is vital to prevent global temperatures from rising and leading to more frequent weather-based destruction.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider