TONGCHENG, Anhui, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese soldiers Wednesday used explosives to blast part of a leaking dike on a swollen branch of the Yangtze River in east China, preventing the flooding of riverbank villages.
The plan to demolish part of the Qingcao Township Dike on the Dasha River was delayed Tuesday after torrential waters snapped the explosives' blasting wires.
But soldiers managed to repair the wires and conduct the blast Wednesday, when water levels subsided and weather improved, according to Zhang Jun, an Army official in charge of the disaster relief work in Tongcheng City, Anhui Province.
Water levels at the dike are markedly lower after the blast, Zhang added.
The local disaster relief headquarters decided to blast the dike Tuesday after experts, army officials and engineers met to consider the options available.
Days of torrential rains have caused many leaks on dikes on the Dasha River. More than 1,000 residents living along the river were evacuated.
Hundreds of armed police fought the flood at Qingcao Township from July 7. Various measures, including laying sandbags on the riverbank, were taken to prevent any inundation.
The continuous downpours in Anhui have resulted in the deaths of at least two people and disrupted the lives of more than 4 million.
More than 5,100 houses have collapsed and 17,700 others have been damaged in the heavy rains.
The rains have caused economic losses of more than 1.8 billion yuan (265.5 million U.S. dollars), according to the provincial disaster relief office.
The provincial government has allocated 8 million yuan to ensure the basic needs of the flood-hit population are met.
In Chizhou, one of the worst-hit cities in Anhui, water levels in 282 reservoirs -- about 70 percent of all reservoirs in the city -- have exceeded warning lines. Workers are fixing four reservoirs that were damaged by landslides and spillway collapses.
In Huaining County, Anqing City, workers are continuing to fortify the Hexi Dike at 60 places. About 180,000 people reside alongside the dike.