China orders mass evacuation from ‘quake lake’ area

May 30th, 2008 - 5:56 pm ICT by admin  

Mianyang (China), May 30 (Xinhua) China Friday ordered evacuation of 1.3 million people from the quake-hit Sichuan province to higher grounds for fear of a “quake lake” burst as a result of flooding and aftershocks. The toll in the killer March 12 quake in the southwestern province of Sichuan reached 68,858 Friday, the State Council said, adding that some 18,618 people were still missing.

Tan Li, the chief of Mianyang city quake control and relief headquarters, Friday issued an order that 1.3 million people living downstream of Tangjiashan, a swelling quake-created lake, must evacuate to higher grounds demarcated by government departments.

The risk of the lake, formed by landslides that blocked the Jianjiang river after the quake, breaching its bank worsened as downpour started around the Tangjiashan, driving up the lake water level.

Tangjiashan, one of the 35 lakes created in the 8.0-magnitude quake, is inaccessible by road and can only be reached on foot or by air.

The seismological observatory in Sichuan predicts that aftershocks will continue along the northern end of the Wenchuan-Beichuan-Qingchuan faultline in the forthcoming days, with the most powerful one being estimated to go around 6.5 in terms of magnitude.

The province has till date experienced as many as 750 aftershocks, the strongest being of 6.4 magnitude which killed eight people last week.

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