AN AMAZING FACT: It is the virtual definition of a monumental project—a dam 1.5 miles wide and more than 600 feet high that will create a reservoir hundreds of feet deep and longer than the state of Oregon. And this one dam’s hydropower turbines are expected to create as much electricity as 17 nuclear power plants. In 1994, the People’s Republic of China began the largest construction project in modern history, known as the Three Gorges Dam. At 3,700 miles, the Yangtze is the third longest river in the world after the Amazon and Nile. This 15-year project created the world’s largest dam and hydroelectric power plant. To China’s leaders, the Three Gorges Dam proves the sleeping dragon has awakened. It is propelling the nation’s economy into the 21st century.
The project helps with significant flood control and safer navigation. The reservoir enables 10,000-ton ocean-going freighters to sail up the river directly into the nation’s interior for six months of each year, opening a region exploding with agriculture and manufacturing. The Yangtze River has also experienced hundreds of catastrophic floods. A flood in 1998 resulted in 4,000 deaths, 14 million left homeless, and $24 billion in economic loss. The project was completed July 4, 2012, and cost the equivalent of$26 billion.
China’s leaders call the dam the greatest engineering feat since the construction of the Great Wall, but to critics worldwide it is a social and environmental disaster. After the dam was completed, 13 cities, 140 towns, and over 1,300 villages were submerged by the reservoir. Ancient temples, burial grounds, and hundreds of known archeological sites were lost forever under water. To make way for the Three Gorges Dam, 1.5 million people had to abandon their homes. Then consider over 360 million people live within the watershed of the Yangtze River. If in the unlikely event the dam breaks, millions of people who live downstream could perish.
You might be surprised to know the book of Revelation predicts that a dragon will send a great flood to destroy God’s church. “So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood” (Revelation 12:15). But God protected the woman, who represents the church. This enraged the dragon, who went off to make war “with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (12:17). We are still promised safety from the devil’s tactics.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43:2