Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Deadly rainstorms swell Chinese rivers, force evacuations

Environment News Service: At least 333 people have been killed in rainstorms and floods across China since July 14 while 300 others are still missing, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Tuesday, and more monsoon rainstorms are on the way. Between now and Thursday, a new round of downpours is expected to hit parts of southern China, with a maximum rainfall of 150 mm (six inches), the China Meteorological Administration forecast.

Ships' passage through the Yangtze River's Three Gorges Dam was suspended Tuesday for the second time this month as engineers at the dam dealt with another surge of flood waters This morning continuous heavy rains caused flood flows caused the swollen river to peak at 56,000 cubic meters per second, the second greatest peak flood this year, engineers with the dam told the state news service Xinhua.

More than 100 vessels are waiting either side of the dam. Shipping services were first suspended on July 19 for the first peak flow of the year on July 20, when water flow rates reached 70,000 cubic meters per second. That flow rate was more than that of the 1998 floods that killed 4,150 people. It was also the highest flow rate since the dam became fully operational in 2009. The dam reopened to vessel traffic on July 22, two days after the peak flow.

Some of the country's other major rivers are also flowing above their warning levels, including the Jialing River, Hanjiang River and Huaihe River, the Yangtze River Flood Control Office said in a statement…

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