September 14, 2009

Three Gorges Project Forces 1.27 Million To Move

China's controversial Three Gorges dam project has displaced 1.27 million people, as the government continues with its development, according to a state media report.

A top dam construction official told Xinhua news agency in a report issued late Saturday that the number represents relocations as of the end of June.

The Three Gorges dam is a hydroelectric river dam that stretches across the Yangtze River in Sandouping, Yichang, Hubei, China. Once completed, the dam will contain 32 main generators.

At 7,575 feet wide and about 607 feet high, the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei province marks the world's largest electricity-generating plant of any kind.

The project produces hydroelectricity, increases the river's navigation capacity, and reduces the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space.

Officials in China had said before that 1.4 million people would likely be forced to moved from areas of central China that are currently submerged or will eventually be submerged, but a time frame for the resettlement of the rest of the residents has not been given.

Those who are not in favor of the project have been claiming for a while that there has been massive corruption involved in the resettlement program, and villagers that have been forced from their homes have complained that they were denied job retraining and resettlement funds that were promised to them.

According to state media report in 2007, at least 37 million dollars had been embezzled from the program in just 2004 and 2005.

In 2007, officials were saying that 4 million people have also been urged to leave the area by 2020, even though the government insists that the relocations have nothing to do with the dam.

The dam is already generating electricity and is expected to reach full capacity as early as this year.

Image Courtesy Christoph Filnkößl - Wikipedia