When Floods Threaten Supply Chains, China’s Wuhan Issues Red Warning

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Wide areas of central and eastern China suffered from the worst flooding in decades on Friday (July 17), as chaos accumulated for main supply chains, including essential personal protective gear to fight coronavirus, and economic losses piled up.

The central Chinese city of Wuhan and the Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces declared red warnings on Friday as heavy rain swelled rivers and lakes. Wuhan, on the banks of the Yangtze River where the novel coronavirus emerged late last year, warned residents to take precautions as water levels rapidly approached their guaranteed maximum level of safety.

The giant Three Gorges reservoir, which has held back more water to try to ease downstream flood risks, is higher than its warning level by more than 10 m, with inflows now at more than 50,000 cubic meters per second.

The Jiangxi province’s Poyang Lake, which is created from the Yangtze overspill, is 2.5 m higher than its warning point. Over this flood season, it has grown by more than 2000 square kilometers, and areas of the nearby region have been submerged.

The Tai Lake near Shanghai also issued a red warning further east after its water level fell to almost a meter above its safe level. The summer rainy season brings flooding to China nearly every year, however as Chinese products are increasingly relevant in supply chains of things such as personal protective equipment ( PPE), the effect of the damage they create is felt farther afield.

Economic development in parts of China, in particular the market for building and steel and cement, continues to be affected by the floods, analysts claim, indicating any lack of traction after a better than anticipated rebound from the coronavirus crisis in the second quarter.

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