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Tangjiashan Quake Lake Overflows into Diversion Channel
    2008-06-09 09:46:12     CRIENGLISH.com

A relatively strong aftershock rocked the dam of the Tangjiashan "quake lake" in Southwest China's Sichuan Province for about 20 seconds on Sunday and caused massive landslides on surrounding mountains.

The aftershock, striking Beichuan County of Sichuan Province at 6:51 p.m. local time, measured 4.8 on the Richter scale.

The aftershock's impact on the dam was still under surveillance.

Although the Tangjiashan "quake lake" has been draining continuously since Saturday, it continues to swell, even as water gushes down the man-made diversion channel.

As pieces of debris keep clogging the upper reaches of the spillway, engineering soldiers have blasted boulders and debris from the lake to speed the water flow.

Chinese Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei sheds some light on the situation:

"There is a lot of debris in the upper reaches, and some of it is quite big, like wooden houses. So now we have asked the corps of engineers to use explosives and other means to break up the debris and increase the water flow."

The Tangjiashan barrier lake was created by a landslide that dammed the Tongkou River, and has now become a top priority for the government, as they try to head off another catastrophe.

The lake threatens 1.3 million people in the low-lying areas. More than 250 thousand have already been relocated.

The lake also endangers China's longest oil pipeline and the Baoji-Chengdu Railway's Fujiang river bridge, a critical link in western China's railway network.

Experts estimate that even if all goes well with the draining of the lake, evacuees will not be able to return to their homes for at least another week.




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