Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thousands at risk from dyke breach as China flood toll rises

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Chinese authorities rushed Tuesday to evacuate 12,000 people threatened by a dyke breach as the death toll from widespread flooding across the nation's south rose to nearly 200. China's President Hu Jintao called for all-out rescue efforts in response to the dyke breach in Jiangxi province, as torrential rains that have battered a broad swathe of southern China for 10 days continued.

The civil affairs ministry said the persistent downpours since June 13 and resulting floods and landslides had left 199 people dead and another 123 missing. Authorities have already evacuated 68,000 people from areas around the Changkai dyke in Jiangxi that collapsed after a swollen river burst its banks, the provincial flood control headquarters said.

But water in a reservoir upstream from the dyke had now exceeded danger levels, further threatening the thousands who had still not moved out of harm's way downstream in Fuzhou city, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Both Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao ordered intense rescue efforts to battle the flooding and rescue victims of the dyke breach, according to the headquarters, as state television broadcast footage of towns and large swathes of land in the area submerged in brown, muddy water…

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