China blows up seventh dike to divert flooding
( 2003-07-07 17:32) (Xinhua)
A seventh dike on the rain-swollen Huai River Chinese was blew up on Monday to divert flood waters and protect the eastern industrial city of Bengbu, a government spokesman said.
The demolition at 11:20 a.m. (0320 GMT) drained some of the river's waters into a diversion area from which 11,130 villagers had been evacuated, said Wang Qiang, spokesman for the Anti-Flood Command Headquarters for Anhui province. Bengbu is in Anhui, about 850 kilometers (550 miles) south of Beijing.
The Huai River was 1.23 meters (four feet) above its danger level Sunday evening. It was 35 centimeters (14 inches) above its past record high level.
A total of 378,900 people have been moved out of areas that were flooded in order to lower the river level, Wang said.
``That loss is just a small sacrifice to protect the whole province,'' he said.
China regularly suffers devastating summer flooding when the rainy season swells rivers that have been hemmed in with dikes in an effort to reclaim land for farming and housing.
In emergencies, authorities destroy dikes upstream from major cities in order to lower swollen waters by letting them drain into farmland and rural areas.
On Sunday, a 1,500-meter-wide (5,000-foot-wide) gap was blasted in another embankment on the Huaihe River. Water drained into three townships covering 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres).
The river has 15 more flood diversion areas that can be used if the flooding
danger worsens, Wang said. He said 170,000 people living in those areas have
been evacuated in preparation for flood diversion.
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