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Water Level Dangerously High in East China Lake

The water level in Hongze Lake on the Huaihe River continued to rise on Wednesday despite sluices being opened to discharge water.

The water level reached 13.86 meters at 4PM Wednesday, 0.39 meter above the danger line and 0.03 meter higher than that at 8AM. It stood at 13.79 meters on Tuesday.

Authorities said 23 billion cubic meters of water upstream, enough to fill six Hongze Lakes, pose a huge flood threat.

Flood control authorities in east China's Jiangsu Province, where Hongze Lake is located, said Wednesday 16 people have died in the flood to date.

More than 2 million people have been affected and 544,400 hectares of farmland flooded. The flood destroyed 4,422 houses and damaged more than 10,000 others.

Direct economic losses stood at 1.5 billion yuan, Jiangsu officials said.

China's waterway authority ordered the opening of 13 sluices at Wangjiaba, on the swollen Huaihe River, on Tuesday to divert flood waters to adjacent Mengwa buffer zone, home to 150,000 people.

The move brought relief to more than 2 million flood-hit residents in Henan Province, on the upper reaches of the Huaihe River, and alleviated pressure downstream.

The Huaihe River originates at Mount Taibai, in central China's Henan Province, and runs eastward between the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, cutting through Henan and east China's Anhui and Jiangsu provinces before entering the Yangtze River via Hongze Lake.

(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2007)

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