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Yellow River Flood Kills Livestock, Damages Homes

Flooding from the Yellow River in the northern region of Inner Mongolia over the past week has killed at least 33,000 head of livestock and collapsed 3,800 houses, but no human casualties have been reported, authorities said on Wednesday.

The flood, which resulted from high water flows and weak embankments, inundated 106 square kilometers involving a town seat and 11 villages, said Gao Yi, spokesman for the Erdos City Yellow River Ice Run Rescue Headquarters. About 10,000 people were evacuated.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, two sections of the river flooded as a result of prolonged high water levels caused by ice thaws along a 720-km frozen stretch in the region. The two sections had been completely patched up as of Tuesday.

The flood swept through 4,500 hectares of crops, causing 20,000 tons of grain losses, according to Gao.

Roads and telecommunications facilities were also seriously damaged.

The Yellow River, China's second longest at 5,464 km, arises in Qinghai Province in the northwest and flows through Sichuan, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and Shandong before emptying into the Bohai Sea.

Sections of the river freeze and thaw at different times. When an ice run flows into a frozen section, it can block the river. If the blockage persists, water levels may rise and cause flooding and dam bursts, threatening lives and property. The ice-run takes place at the start of winter and spring.

(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2008)

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