Measures along Huai River reach 'critical stage'

Updated: 2007-07-24 20:29

SHANGHAI - Anti-flood measures have reached a critical stage along China's Huai River, with sodden dikes facing continuing pressure from high waters, state media reported Tuesday.

Authorities earlier this month diverted the Huai's waters into a catchment area, helping relieve some pressure on the embankments.

Despite that, water levels are expected to remain dangerously high for at least the next 10 days, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Dikes "faced an increased risk of breaches after weeks of pressure from high water levels," Xinhua said.

Water levels on Hongze Lake into which the Huai flows were 28 centimeters (11 inches) above the danger line on Tuesday morning, the report said.

The Jiangsu province government has dispatched 150,000 people to inspect the embankments since the beginning of this month and invested 67 million yuan (8.8 million U.S. dollars) in reinforcing 400 dikes.

More than 1 million people have been evacuated in Jiangsu and the neighboring provinces of Henan and Anhui from the projected path of floodwaters along the Huai. The slow moving river, China's third longest, flows mainly through low-lying farming areas that drain poorly.

Floods have hit nearly half of China's regions and killed at least 400 people since the rainy season began in May.

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