Heavy Rains Destroy Portion of China’s Great Wall
Torrential rains have battered China for the past month, causing a portion of the Great Wall to collapse. A thirty-six meter stretch in the northern area of the Hebei Province crumbled as flood waters surged down the mountains, sweeping away a section at Dajingmen, according to news sources. Local authorities are currently trying to repair the damaged area, but state many more portions of China’s Great Wall are in danger of damage from flood and erosion.
The Great Wall, considered one of the “seven wonders of the world”, has a history that goes back as far as the seventh century B.C., when several walls were built to keep out various nomadic people. The entire structure, once built, covered 5,500 miles, although by the branches of the wall, the length is actually close to 14,000 miles. The section where the wall collapsed had been built in the seventh century, but had to be rebuilt between 1368 and 1644, during the Ming Dynasty.
Although the Great Wall has stood for centuries, authorities believe construction work and neglect have endangered portions of the historical wall. Although in areas such as Beijing, as well as other tourist destinations, the wall has been carefully preserved, in poorer districts, the wall is used as a children’s playground and has been subject to vandalism. Other areas are thought to be in danger of completely disappearing, such as a thirty-seven mile stretch in the Gansu Province, which is being battered by sandstorms and erosion.
The rains, which have been devastating China since early July, have created wide spread flooding and damage. In late July, flash floods covered the city of Beijing, leaving 37 dead, when 25 drowned, five were electrocuted by fallen power lines and six people were buried under collapsed structures.
Typhoon Haikui has just touched down in the Zhejiang Province, forcing the evacuation of 1.5 million people. Haikui is the eleventh typhoon to batter East China’s coastline this year, which triggered China’s continued torrential down pours and flooding. The typhoon landed with 150 km an hour winds, causing twelve townships to lose their power, according to reports. Rescuers say they have picked up 123 people so far who have been stranded by the flooding. Three hundred tourists remain stranded in the county of Anji, after a bridge snapped that linked the scenic town to the nearby mountain area.
The rainfalls are reported to be the heaviest on record since observations began in 1951. In the mountainous areas, evacuations have been ongoing as fear of landslides spread. At least six people have been reported dead from landslides and another four when a truck washed away in a river. The rains have forced airports to close and the railway system to shut down.
The people of China wait in misery for whatever new damage will be caused in the wake of Typhoon Haikui. To date, the death toll for the dead has reached 113 from the floods, with dozens more missing, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Three hundred seventy-four thousand people were evacuated from Shanghai, and another 250,000 from Zhehang as the country waited for the typhoon’s approach; the third one to hit this coastline area in a week.