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Sichuan on high alert as flood season begins
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Southwest China's Sichuan is on high alert as the flood season began on Tuesday in the province where the May 12 earthquake caused great damage to reservoirs and embankments.

The provincial government urged the local officials to closely monitor the damaged reservoirs, dykes and all 34 quake lakes formed after the 8-magnitude earthquake.

"We will reevaluate the water facilities that were previously regarded as safe in order to avert any potential danger," said Tan Xiaoping, director of Sichuan Provincial Flood Control Office, at a local flood-control meeting on Tuesday.

"As long as risks are found, engineering measures will be taken to address them," he said.

The office ordered local governments to prepare emergency evacuation plans and conduct casualty-control drills.

Eight relief teams of engineering and hydraulics experts were set up by the Sichuan Provincial Department of Water Resources to address the possible flooding.

Statistics from the department showed the earthquake damaged 1,803 reservoirs, 495 embankments and 470 hydraulic power stations.

Local hydrological and meteorological departments issued a flood warning last week, forecasting summer flooding was likely to be the worst in a decade and would come at the beginning of July, earlier than in past years because of the effect of abnormal rainfall in May.

Precipitation in Sichuan between May and June was 30 percent to 70 percent more than that of the same time last year.

(Xinhua News Agency July 2, 2008)

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