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Blast starts diversion on Huaihe River
( 2003-07-07 09:43) (China Daily)

A 1,500-metre hole was yesterday blasted in one of the flood protection dykes on the Huaihe River in a dramatic move to release the rising flood waters.

With the river running at a record-high of over 26 metres, the move came amid no sign of let-up in the torrential rains that have hit this part of eastern China.

The explosion tore a hole in one of main dykes on the river in Anhui Province and allowed water to flow into the lower reaches of Tangduo Lake. Roads and fields adjacent to the dyke were immediately submerged as the torrent was released.

Water levels had exceeded the danger mark for several days running on the swollen Huaihe River, threatening mainstream dykes along its course.

Over the years there have been 10 controlled explosions to release flood waters into Tangduo Lake, the latest being in 1991.

Flood water diversion areas have helped alleviate the threat posed by flooding, but they could offer no guarantees given the threat posed by recent continual torrential rains, warned Zhang Zhitong, deputy executive director of the Office of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

At the weekend President Hu Jintao once again stressed that every effort should be made to protect lives and property, and strengthen necessary dyke defences.

He urged Hui Liangyu, vice-premier and the general director of Zhang's headquarters, responsible for overseeing flood defence work in Anhui, to make even greater efforts to reduce losses caused by the floods.

Thousands of officials, residents and soldiers are engaged in the fight to strengthen the dykes along the Yangtze River and other stretches of the threatened Huaihe River.

All 446 potential weak spots in the dykes along the Huaihe River and the flood diversion areas have been repaired and restored.

Heavy to torrential rains are expected to strike the lower valley of the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers in coming days, warned the meteorology division under the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

From Saturday to Sunday, medium to heavy rains affected the northern part of Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces, the eastern part of Hubei Province, and Chongqing Municipality. The southern areas of Anhui and Jiangsu provinces have also suffered torrential rains.

One person has been killed by floods in Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu Province.

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