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Inner dike breaches blocked in Lankao
( 2003-10-29 15:59) (Xinhua)

The last breach on the inner dike of the Yellow River along the Lankao county section in central China's Henan province was successfully stopped at eight minutes past midnight Wednesday.

This is the first time in 57 years for the Yellow River to be breached. [Xinhua]

Since Sept. 18, the inner dike had been breached several times by the surging waters in the Yellow River, the second longest in China, threatening the safety of the lives and property of 120,000 people in the region between Lankao county in Henan province and Dongming county in east China's Shandong province.

The inner dike was built 57 kilometers from the main dike on the southern river bank to protect farmlands in the area between the stream and the main dike.

Water levels averaged 1.3 meters deep in this area, said a senior official with the Lankao County government.

The area, an alluvial flat, was earmarked as an overflow area in the rainy season, but farmers were permitted to grow crops there in the dry season as the earth was very fertile, said Zhang Jinliang, an official with the Yellow River Conservancy Committee.

Owing to reduction of river water over recent years, the alluvial flat along the Yellow River has not been flooded for many years.

Breaches are closed Wednesday morning. [Xinhua]
Farmland has been reclaimed and a large number of local people have settled on the alluvial flat along the lower reaches of the river, which crosses Henan and Shandong provinces, in the past 150 years.

The water levels of the lower reaches have risen since Xiaolangdi Reservoir, a major water conservancy and irrigation facility being built on the Yellow River, started to discharge floodwater in early September, under pressure by continuous flooding in the middle reaches.

Almost 5,000 People's Liberation Army soldiers and armed police forces were dispatched to the disaster areas to evacuate villagers.

Thanks to prompt, effective rescue efforts, no casualties were reported.

The main dike along the lower reaches of the Yellow River, running 1,371 km, has not been breached for 57 years.

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