Videos Capture Moments Dams Collapse After Heavy Rainfall

As parts of China were hit with historic levels of seasonal downpour over the weekend, residents captured the dramatic collapse of two dams as towns in Inner Mongolia received one-third of their annual rainfall in a single day.

Videos carried by China's state-owned news services reportedly showed the Yong'an and Xinfa reservoirs in Morin Dawa Daur, a division under the city of Hulunbuir, give way as the Nuomin River's water levels rose between Saturday and Sunday.

Murky torrents of floodwater were seen bursting over the embankments and pouring down an overwhelmed slipway, while in another clip a dam wall collapses and releases water downstream.

A Hulunbuir government statement, released online on Monday, confirmed the partial collapse of both dams in the afternoon of July 18. It said 16,600 people were affected and more than 50,000 acres of farmland were submerged.

No casualties were reported, while significant infrastructure damage was recorded, the statement added, saying 22 bridges and almost 10 miles of highway were destroyed.

Floodwaters had receded by Monday, and the economic loss of the natural disaster was still being calculated, said the local government.

According to the Hulunbuir Meteorological Bureau, the region received the heaviest rain of this year's flood season between 8 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday local time. The Hulunbuir monitoring station recorded the most rainfall at 223 millimeters.

The downpour led to the collapse first of the Yong'an Reservoir dam at 1:45 p.m., followed by Xinfa further downstream roughly 40 minutes later.

The collapse of the dams was directly linked to the sudden increase in water levels in the reservoirs, a weather official told state-run China News Service on Tuesday. Some parts of Morin Dawa Daur that receive less than 490 millimeters of rainfall a year recorded 153 milliliters on Sunday alone, the most since records began, the official said.

The expert added: "It received one-third of its annual rainfall in a single day and happened at a time when the soil was already nearing saturation. The heavy rains only exacerbated the situation."

Central China is currently experiencing some of this season's flooding, with rainfall and water levels also reaching historic highs.

An aluminum alloy plant in Dengfeng, Henan, was hastily evacuated and its power cut early on Tuesday after a nearby river burst its banks and floodwaters brought down the outer walls. The water reached the plant's superheated alloy solution about two hours later, causing a giant explosion that was captured on camera by nearby residents.

Local authorities said the incident did not result in any casualties.

Dams Collapse As China Hit With Floods
These screen grabs show dam walls collapsing in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, China, on July 18, 2021, as torrential downpour leads to rising water levels in the area. Weibo