Flooding ruining rice crop, via CNN
Surging floodwater burst the banks of Poyang Lake in Jiangxi province last month, destroying thousands of acres of farmland in what's known as the "land of fish and rice." The broader Yangtze River basin — which includes Poyang Lake and stretches more than 3,900 miles from Shanghai in the east to the Tibetan border in the west — accounts for 70% of the country's rice production.
The flooding that walloped Bao's farm and 13 million more acres of cropland — about the size of West Virginia — is the worst that that China has experienced in years. China's Ministry of Emergency Management pegs the direct economic cost of the disaster at $21 billion in destroyed farmland, roads and other property. Some 55 million people, including farmers like Bao, have been affected.
Analysts at the Chinese brokerage firm Shenwan Hongyuan, meanwhile, recently estimated that China could lose 11.2 million tons worth of food compared to last year, given how much cropland was damaged by mid July. That would be equivalent to 5% of the rice that China produces.
The damage might be even worse, though. Nomura's analysis was based on data about flooded crop fields that the Chinese government released in July. Since then, the amount of cropland that has been damaged has roughly doubled, according to China's Ministry of Emergency Response. Damage estimates released by analysts also don't include the potential loss of wheat, corn or other crops, which could be threatened should the flooding spread.
China's "Clean Plates Campaign", via Bloomberg
The sudden and massive push to curb the problem of discarded leftovers -- known as the “Clean Plates Campaign” -- has puzzled experts who keep a close watch on the world’s biggest consumer of everything from grains to meat. Government officials have stressed that the country’s food reserves are ample, but some observers have nevertheless questioned the timing of a campaign aimed at reducing consumption when China’s economy is still recovering from the effects of the coronavirus epidemic.
Three Gorges Dam is nearing capacity, via The Guardian
Extreme floods have hit China’s Three Gorges dam, which recorded the largest inflow of water in its history, prompting officials to assure the public it would not be breached.
Inflows to the world’s largest hydro-electric dam reached 75m litres of water a second, according to state media. By Thursday morning, 11 outlets of the dam had been opened to discharge 49.2m litres of water a second, the largest release since its construction.
Upstream from the dam, officials in the city of Chongqing, in Sichuan province, evacuated almost 300,000 residents before the flooding. On Thursday, levels along the Yangtze near Chongqing reached heights not seen since 1981, when the country experienced its worst floods in a century, leaving 1.5 million homeless.
In Chongqing, roads, bridges, parks and a main highway in the commercial district were flooded, affecting 260,000 people and damaging at least 20,000 businesses, according to officials.