Flood risk rises along rivers in quake-hit China

May 15th, 2008 - 9:17 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, May 15 (DPA) A south-western Chinese town near the epicentre of Monday’s devastating earthquake faced a growing risk of flood Thursday, prompting troops to evacuate as many people as possible while they dug through rubble in the hope of rescuing some of the thousands of people still missing in the town. A lake had formed on the Bai He river above Beichuan town after a landslide caused by the earthquake blocked the river, an official from the Sichuan Seismological Bureau told DPA over phone.

Because of the high risk of flooding, troops evacuated everyone to higher ground before returning to continue their rescue work in Beichuan, which was home to about 30,000 people, state media said.

The Sichuan official declined to respond when asked how the government planned to tackle the blockage on the Bai He.

Officials estimated that up to 5,000 died in Beichuan, where about 80 percent of buildings collapsed in the old town and 60 percent in the new town.

Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei Thursday said that quake damage to rivers, dams, reservoirs and hydropower plants posed a “serious threat” of flooding in several areas of Sichuan and neighbouring provinces.

Most of the scores of reservoirs in Sichuan had sustained “significant but still unknown damage” during Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake, state media quoted Chen as saying.

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