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River embankment bursts in south China
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A section of the Xijiang River in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region burst through its embankment on Sunday following days of heavy rain, forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 people.

About 670 hectares of farmland were inundated shortly after 7 p.m. when the water broke through a crack on the embankment and breached a temporary 5-meter-high dyke that was being built by local residents.

There were no reports of casualties or house collapses yet, according to local officials.

Rising water and strong scouring had opened a 40-meter crack as of 8 a.m. Sunday on the Dayaochong embankment in Changzhou Town but had been contained by the temporary dyke, said Zhang Jinshen, a Changzhou District official in charge of flood control.

Wuzhou, a city near Guangxi's border with Guangdong Province, had its worst flooding in 100 years in 2005.

The flood crest of the Xijiang River passed Wuzhou at 2 p.m. on Sunday and water levels were dropping, according to the Guangxi flood control and drought relief headquarters.

The water level in the Wuzhou section fell to 24.80 meters at 6 p.m. from 24.84 meters at 2 p.m.. It was expected to stand at 24.30 meters at 8 a.m. on Monday.

The Xijiang River, a tributary of the Pearl River, runs through the Guangxi region and Guangdong Province.

Water levels in the major rivers of Guijiang, Qianjiang, Xunjiang and Xijiang had exceeded warning levels, officials said.

The regional government ordered cities and counties along the rivers to take preventive actions against the worst floods so far this year.

Continuous heavy rains in Guangxi have damaged 22 bridges and cut traffic on 134 roads, including 10 national highways, putting losses at more than 120 million yuan (17.1 million US dollars).

(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2008)

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