People living in communities surrounding a large shallow lake have been
overrun by field mice after floodwaters drove the rodents out of islands on the
lake, state media reported Monday.
The mouse invasion began on June 23 when the Yangtze River flooded, raising
the water level in central China's Dongting Lake and submerging mouse holes on
lake islands, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Now, an estimated 2 billion mice are ravaging crops in 22 counties around the
lake, and authorities were rushing to construct walls and ditches to keep the
rodents out. Residents have killed more than 2.3 million field mice - or 90 tons
of the rodents, Xinhua said.
In Hunan province's Yiyang County, a ditch along the lakeshore was filled
with mice. Residents were using clubs and shovels to beat them to death, while
others scooped the furry animals out using fishing nets.
Mice have already damaged dikes and ruined crops in areas where authorities
were slow to build walls and ditches, Xinhua said.
The rodent problem was expected to worsen as more floods were forecast for
the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and Dongting Lake.