Giant balls made in Xianghe, Hebei province
Giant balls made in Xianghe, Hebei province Reuters

A Chinese farmer has created his own version of Noah's Ark by building floating "life pods" to save a handful of the world's population from natural disasters.

Liu Qiyuan is finishing the last of seven spherical pods, each comprising a fibreglass shell around a central steel frame. They resemble Chinese dumplings.

Each pod is airtight and contains oxygen tanks and seatbelts for up to 14 people. They are designed to stay upright in water.

Liu has spent about £200,000 on the eight-month project, and enlisted the help of workers at his old furniture factory.

The inventor, who lives in the county of Xianghe in Hebei province, reportedly felt compelled to build the pods after watching the apocalyptic Hollywood movie 2012.

He has named his creation after Noah's biblical vessel, and hopes the arks will be adopted by governments and international associations.

With the Mayan prophecy predicting the end of the world as we know it on 21 December, Liu may have picked a great moment to roll out his new doomsday vessels.

The prophesied apocalypse has also led to the creation of several luxury bunkers, some converted into hotels in preparation for the end of the world.

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Liu Qiyuan peeks out from orb
Liu Qiyuan peeks out from orb Reuters
Interior of orb
Interior of orb Reuters
Nangua Baozi: Chinese dumpling
Nangua Baozi: Chinese dumpling Reuters