Close watch as water levels on the rise

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-27 06:51

Thousands of people are battling floods in Central China as the water levels of rivers continue to rise.

Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province, has ordered authorities to step up surveillance along the banks and sluice gates of the Yangtze River as its water level kept going up.

Authorities have sandbags in place in case of a possible overflow. The water level was 25 m at 9 pm on Wednesday and rose to 25.07 m at 8 am yesterday, according to the Wuhan flood control headquarters. The danger mark is at 27.3 m.

The Yangtze's flow has increased from 3,600 cubic m per second to 50,800 cubic m per second in the last 24 hours, officials said.

The water resources commission said the river's water level would keep on rising in the next few days. It expects the level to be 25.68 m on Monday. The river enters Wuhan in the southwest and passes 150 km through the city.

The water level of the Hanjiang River, a Yangtze tributary, has also risen to 27.85 m, 0.35 m above the danger mark.

The flood control authorities in Hunan Province said yesterday it had also entered a critical stage with 15,000 government staff and 260,000 members of the public guarding dikes and sluice gates.

Rainstorms began to hit northwestern parts of the province on July 19 and 1.82 million people in Xiangxi and Zhangjiajie have so far been affected.

About 870 km of river embankments have been affected by the high waters, according to officials.

More heavy rain is expected, officials said. Southeastern parts of the province are likely to be affected by typhoons and mountain torrents.

Conditions, however, are very different in the eastern parts of Hunan, which is still suffering from a drought that started late last month, officials said.

Zhang Chunxian, Communist Party chief of Hunan, said flood control and drought relief were the priorities for officials in rural areas, and public safety must be ensured.

Meanwhile, the swollen Huaihe River is still posing a serious threat.

Officials of East China's Jiangsu Province said dikes could be breached following weeks of high water pressure.

The officials said water levels in the Jiangsu section of the Huaihe River would remain dangerously high for at least another 10 days.

The Jiangsu provincial government has organized 150,000 people to patrol the dikes since the beginning of this month. The province has spent 67 million yuan ($8.8 million) to reinforce 400 dikes.

China Daily-Xinhua

(China Daily 07/27/2007 page4)

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