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Yellow River Flood Causes Blackout in N China Town

Up to 5,000 people in Duguitala Town in north China's Inner Mongolia were without drinking water and electricity on Friday after icy waters from the Yellow River flooded a local power transformer station.

The blackout in Duguitala and surrounding areas in Hangjin Banner, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, occurred at 10:00 PM on Thursday, after the flood waters rose to a meter deep.

No casualties have been reported. Emergency workers are building barriers to patch up collapsed sections of the embankments.

The local telecommunication company sent two engineers to the venue, and prepared cellphone chargers and an emergency mobile signal transmitter to guarantee communications to the region.

Some 600 middle and primary school students in the town were evacuated Thursday afternoon to four schools in Xini Town where the Hangqi Banner government is located.

Around 700 tents as well as drinking water and food have been sent to the area. Seven ambulances and 30 doctors were on standby, according to the flood control headquarters in Hangji on Thursday afternoon.

The water approached Duguitala Town, Hangji Banner in Ordos City, at 4:10 PM, after a 30-meter section of the embankment collapsed on Thursday morning. A 450-meter stretch downstream burst on Wednesday afternoon.

The embankment had been near danger levels since the ice began to thaw, with only 50 centimeters between the water and the top of the embankment, said Niu Shaoyun, deputy director of the flood control headquarters in Hangji.

About 13,700 people in six villages on the southern bank of the Yellow River, the second longest in China, were evacuated from their homes to the Kubuqi desert, around 10 kilometers from the town, on Thursday night.

(Xinhua News Agency March 21, 2008)

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