A total of 197,477 people were evacuated to safe ground as of 8 a.m. Saturday in line with an emergency plan, an official with the quake relief headquarters of Mianyang City in southwest China said.
The plan was drawn up for the contingency of one third of the volume of quake-formed Tangjiashan lake burst out.
Residents of Mianyang were leaving the city for safe ground, May 30, 2008
Up to 1.3 million people in west China's Sichuan Province may have to evacuate to higher ground for fear of a major "quake lake" burst as a result of flooding and strong aftershocks.
On Friday Tan Li, Party Secretary of Mianyang City and chief of Mianyang City Quake Control and Relief Headquarters, renewed an order to 1.3 million people living downstream from Tangjiashan. They must rehearse evacuation to higher ground demarcated by government departments in preparation for a worst-case scenario on Sunday, a day after originally planned Saturday.
At 4 p.m. Thursday, Tan issued a No. 1 order demanding about 200,000 people living downstream from Tangjiashan in the main urban districts of Mianyang City should start evacuation by 8 a.m. Saturday. The evacuation must be completed by 8 a.m. Sunday.
Two other plans require the relocation of 1.2 million people if half of the lake volume was released, or 1.3 million if the barrier of the quake lake fully opened.
The Tangjiashan lake, one of 34 such bodies of water, was formed when landslides caused by the May 12 quake blocked the Jianjiang River, which runs into the Fujiang River about 40 km north of Mianyang.
(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2008)