Mon, July 26, 2010
China > Mainland

China braces for more floods as rivers surge, downpours continue

2010-07-26 09:44:46 GMT2010-07-26 17:44:46 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Fishermen draw back their fishing nets in the Honghu Lake, central China's Hubei Province, July 23, 2010. (Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Drenched riverside towns in central and southern parts of China on Monday prepared for even more flooding as water levels in the country's key rivers surged and rainstorms continued.

In central Hubei Province, the water flow rate into the Danjiangkou Reservoir from the Hanjiang River, the second largest branch of the Yangtze River, peaked at the highest in almost three decades, the provincial disaster relief headquarters said, describing the flood-control situation as "very severe."

The reservoir's water level is expected to rise to at least 155 meters on Tuesday, about 6 meters above the reservoir's danger level.

Authorities have ordered the operation of a flood buffer system -- the diversion of water flows into an emergency reservoir capable of holding 1.6 billion cubic meters of water.

Water flow rates at the Three Gorges Dam, meanwhile, at the mainstream of the upper Yangtze River -- China's longest river, rose Monday after a three-day lull.

The water flow rate hit 40,500 cubic meters per second Monday morning, and it is expected to continue to rise until it peaks on Tuesday.

Engineers at the dam located in Hubei's Yichang City said the water level at the Three Gorges reservoir behind the dam may exceed its year high level of 158.86 meters, which is 13.86 meters above the danger line.

Last Tuesday, the flow of the Yangtze River exceeded the rate during the 1998 floods that killed 4,150 people and was the highest since the dam became fully operational in 2009. But the dam managed to buffer the worst of the floods.

Flooding killed at least 13 people in Yichang in the past three days.

Disaster prevention efforts were especially intensified in Hubei's provincial capital of Wuhan City, where the Hanjiang River and the Yangtze's mainstream converge.

About 7,551 workers were mobilized to check the dikes and other flood-control systems in the central China city around the clock.

In northwest China's Shaanxi Province, soldiers tried for a second time to fix a breach in the embankment of a flooding tributary of the Weihe River, a branch of the Yellow River, China's second longest river.

More than 3,000 soldiers and local residents have been laying rocks and sand bags narrowing the initially 80-meter gap but failed to completely plug it.

Floods, landslides and mud flows in Shaanxi in the past 11 days had left at least 111 dead and 167 missing, provincial authorities said Sunday.

Authorities on Monday also halted train services linking Lhasa, capital city of southwestern China's Tibet Autonomous Region, to the country's east coast as tracks passing through the mountainous area of Shaanxi were at risk from floods and landslides.

In southeast China's Jiangxi Province, firemen and police are wading through knee-deep waters on the streets of the mountainous city of Jinggangshan to prevent further flooding. The city is known as the cradle of the Chinese Communist revolution.

Rainfall over the previous 24 hours reached 160 mm at 8 a.m. Monday and water has risen up to one meter deep in Ciping Town, the seat of the municipal government.

Floods in China this year had left 742 people dead and 367 missing as of last Friday.

Premier Wen Jiabao has urged local authorities to fully prepare for the "grave flood-control situation."

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