More than 400 workers and soldiers narrowed a 400-meter gap in a dike on east China's Fuhe River by 80 meters as of 11 a.m. Saturday, as floods that have killed 235 people ravaged the south of the country for the 12th day.
The river in Fuzhou City, Jiangxi Province, breached its banks for a second time early Wednesday, two days after a dike on another section of the river burst, forcing the evacuation of 100,000 people, according to the provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
Almost all of the people had been evacuated as of 6 p.m. Friday, and no casualties were reported, said Wu Fusheng, the city's deputy Party chief.
Fan Tianyin, a senior officer of the hydrological engineer corps of the Armed Police, said workers started Saturday to narrow the breach from both directions, which was expected to accelerate the work starting on Friday.
Sun Xiaoshan, deputy commander of the headquarters, said that the river course was still holding water at a high level, as the Liaofang Reservoir at the upper stream was discharging flood water to reduce the danger of an overflow.
He said the headquarters were still working on measures to reduce the river's water runoff to ensure the repairs of the breached dike could be finished in six days upon schedule.
He said as the breach was narrowed, water would flow faster making it more difficult to block it completely.
The local water resources authorities have left the other dike breach open as one of the measures to reduce the water runoff.
"What we most worry about is when can the breach be fixed and people return home," said Luo Hongliu, whose parents had been evacuated from a nearby village.
About 24,000 flood victims have been settled in dormitories and classrooms in local schools, which had given students summer vacation earlier than usual to accommodate the evacuees. The other 70,000 were staying with relatives and friends, according to the headquarters.
It said 10 of 925 road damages incurred by lingering downpours in Jiangxi were still under repairs. Among them, a 7-km section on the No. 316 state highway was still submerged in flood water because of the dike breach.