‘Quake Lake’ could cause flood as it nears drainage point

June 6th, 2008 - 1:50 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, June 6 (ANI): Tangjiashan, the “quake lake” in China’s Sichuan Province could lead to a flood due to a rise in water levels.

On Thursday, the water level at the lake in Beichuan County of Mianyang City, rose to a height of 738.71 meters, which is still 1.29 meters below the drainage sluice, according to the lake control headquarters.

According to Xinhua, the water level has risen to a point where engineers believe they may have to open a drainage sluice.

Over 250,000 people have already been relocated in anticipation.

Another 10,441 residents who were living in a low-lying area about 50 km from the periphery of the lake were evacuated on Thursday afternoon.A traffic ban has been enforced in downstream areas.

Emergency teams are hoping to drain the lake on Thursday, but unforeseen factors, such as fresh landslides and higher than expected rainfall, have added to the risk of the lake breaching its banks and flooding downstream areas, said a spokesman with the lake control headquarters.

On Thursday afternoon, Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Mianyang to oversee the drainage of the Tangjiashan Lake by helicopter.

It is expected that the lake, which holds over 200 million cubic meters of water, would start draining as soon as the water level reaches the lowest point of the dam.

Over 600 armed police and soldiers have dug a 475-meter channel to divert water from the lake.

The chances of the lake bursting its boundaries are increasing due to uncertainties, including aftershocks, rain on the upper reaches and the instability of the mud and rock dam, warned a headquarters spokesman late on Wednesday.

However, it was not clear when the draining would exactly start.

Tangjiashan Lake is on the Jianjiang River and 3.2 km from the hard-hit Beichuan County, which was rocked by a 7.9 magnitude quake on May 12 . It is one of the 35 lakes formed after landslides triggered by the quake-blocked rivers in the mountains.(ANI)

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