Sat, Aug 08, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Landslide threatens Chinese dam

AFP , BEIJING

A landslide in China’s mountainous southwest has dammed up a major tributary of the Yangtze River, posing a threat to a hydroelectric dam and communities downstream, state media said.

The landslide occurred on the Dadu River in Sichuan Province’s Hanyuan County late on Thursday, leaving two people dead and 19 injured, Xinhua news agency reported.

It was not immediately known how many people were missing, Xinhua said.

The massive flow of mud and rocks blocked the river, leaving only a trickle flowing through to the Pubugou hydroelectric dam, the report said.

Authorities have ordered the evacuation of communities below the landslide as the backed-up water had begun to seep through the debris, escalating fears it would soon burst through and send torrents of water downstream, it said.

Torrential rain and landslides have killed nearly 70 people and left almost as many missing in south and central China since the beginning of June, state media reported last week.

On July 24, another landslide on the Dadu River engulfed makeshift housing for a dam construction crew in Shalian, leaving about 50 people missing and four dead, earlier reports said.

Parts of the Dadu River run through areas that were rocked by a huge, 8.0-magnitude earthquake in May last year that also triggered landslides in Sichuan’s mountainous regions. Nearly 87,000 people were left dead or missing in the quake.

Meanwhile, China Daily reported on Thursday that at least 10 people had been killed this week and one remained missing in rain-induced floods in southwest China’s Chongqing, a major municipality on the banks of the Yangtze.

The flooding, which is expected to become the worst on this section of the Yangtze since 2004, has also forced the evacuation of 123,000 people, the daily said, citing the civil affairs ministry.

Ten thousand houses in the area have been toppled, while 16,000 others have been damaged, the report said.

The government on Wednesday issued an alert urging intensified efforts to fight flooding along the Yangtze, China’s largest river, the paper said.

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