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China Allocates 200 Mln Yuan to Relieve 'Quake Lake' Threat

China's Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday that the government allocated 200 million yuan (US$28.6 million) from the central budget for Sichuan Province to deal with the swelling lakes formed by this month's devastating earthquake.

Many such lakes are threatening to burst and flood downstream areas.

Landslides from the massive earthquake created 34 "quake lakes" in the mountainous province, with 28 still at risk of rupturing, according to the relief headquarters of the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR).

The largest, and of most concern, is the Tangjiashan lake. As of Tuesday, it was holding 130 million cubic meters of water and the water level was 727.02 meters, up 1.82 m. from Monday and only about 25 m. below the lowest part of the barrier, said MWR chief engineer Liu Ning.

Some 26 excavators are working non-stop to dig a diversion channel to drain the lake, which is expected to be completed around June 5 barring any adverse weather.

Liu also denied reports on Wednesday that said air force bombers might be used to drain the lake. "It's totally groundless," he said.

An estimated 158,000 people will have to move if the Tangjiashan Lake bursts its banks. So far, more than 100,000 people in Mianyang City have been relocated.

(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2008)


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