Floodwaters reach China’s famous giant Buddha statue toes

This aerial photo taken on August 18, 2020 shows the Leshan Giant Buddha surrounded by floodwaters following heavy rains in Leshan in China’s southwestern Sichuan province. – Continuous rainfall has engulfed streets and displaced residents in southwestern China’s (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

For the first time in decades, floodwaters in southern China have overrun the Yangtze River to reach the toes of a famous gigantic statue of the Buddha.

The 233-foot-high sitting Buddha was carved out of a hillside on Mount Emei around 1,200 years ago and forms part of a UNESCO world heritage site in China’s Sichuan province. It usually sits comfortably above the waters of the Yangtze, and tourists gather at its base.

As a result of the flood, the area was closed to tourists, but hope it will re-open later this week after safety assessments are carried out, they wrote on Chinese social network Weibo.

The floodwater also touched the toes of another giant Buddha in China, the Leshan’s Giant Buddha, which according to state-run media outlet Xinhua has not happened in at least seven decades.

Flooding in summer is not uncommon in the region, but has been worse in recent months.