Giant Buddha Washes His Feet for First Time in 70 Years

100K evacuated along Yangtze River in China amid record flooding
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2020 9:40 AM CDT
Giant Buddha Washes His Feet for First Time in 70 Years
In this photo, floodwaters flow near the historic Giant Buddha in Leshan in China's Sichuan Province on Tuesday.   (Xu Bingjie/Xinhua via AP)

The Giant Buddha of Leshan hasn't dipped its toes in the Yangtze River since 1949. But it's doing so now that China is experiencing its worst flooding in 70 years, per the BBC. Sandbags are being used to protect the 1,200-year-old World Heritage Site, including a statue standing more than 200 feet tall, carved out of a rock face. But there are other concerns. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated from areas along the upper reaches of the Yangtze, where some monitoring stations are expected to see water levels exceeding "guaranteed" flood protection levels by some 16 feet, per Reuters and Al Jazeera.

On Wednesday, the Three Gorges Dam spanning the river is expected to see its highest water inflows since it was completed in 2006. The facility raised discharge volumes on Tuesday, as the water level in its reservoir has been more than 30 feet above the official warning level for more than a month. Sichuan province raised its emergency response to the highest level on Tuesday following weeks of heavy rain. There's "no sign of it ending soon," per the BBC, which reports "flood alerts are in place for provinces around the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai, Songhua, and Liao rivers, with warnings of possible landslides." (More China stories.)

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