Chinese authorities are currently battling to save an ancient heritage site from flood waters, as Flooding in the Sichuan province threatens to reach the Leshan Giant Buddha’s feet following heavy rainfall, in Leshan, Sichuan.
The flooding is coming from the upper reaches of China’s Yangtze river, according to Reuters, and has seen the evacuation of more than 100,000 people on Tuesday and the jeopardizing of a 1,200-year-old world heritage site.
Staff, police and volunteers used sandbags to try to protect the 71-metre (233-foot) Leshan Giant Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage site in southwestern Sichuan province, as muddy flood water rose over its toes for the first time since 1949, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
A new bout of torrential rainfall caused the Yangtze Water Resources Commission, the government body that oversees the river, to declared a red alert late on Tuesday, saying water at some monitoring stations was expected to exceed “guaranteed” flood protection levels by over 5 metres.
Authorities have speculated that the Three Gorges Project, a gigantic hydroelectric facility designed in part to tame floods on the Yangtze, is expected to see water inflows rise to 74,000 cubic metres per second on Wednesday, the highest since it was built, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.
The project restricts the amount of water flowing downstream by storing it in its reservoir, which has been over 10 metres higher than its official warning level for more than a month.
The facility was forced to raise water discharge volumes on Tuesday in order to “reduce flood control pressures”, the water ministry said.