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Flood-prone Huaihe Dammed

The Huaihe River, one of the most flood-prone rivers in China's history, was successfully dammed at 11:28 am Sunday at a section in the juncture between Huoqiu and Yingshang counties in east China's Anhui Province.


The damming is designed to make way for the construction of the Linhuaigang Project, so far the largest water control project on the Huaihe River, the third longest in China. It is also one of 19 key parts of the Huaihe River management blueprint and has been listed as one of the major projects in the national economic and social development plan.


The successful damming, the first on the river, showed that China has entered a new stage in harnessing the Huaihe River.


The 1,000-km-long river is notorious for its frequent flooding with 300 disastrous floods recorded over the past five centuries, endangering the lives of local people in the river valley. The area now produces 18 percent of the country's food grain and 15 percent of coal.


The river flows through four central and eastern Chinese provinces, namely Henan, Anhui, Shandong and Jiangsu, and is located exactly between the country's two longest rivers, the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers.


After the founding of New China in 1949, the Chinese government has been determined to bring the river under control. Since 1950, several thousands of reservoirs have been built and dozens of lakes and depressions were turned into flood-storage zones.


Covering provinces of Henan and Anhui, the Linhuaigang Flood Control Project will contribute greatly to flood control on the middle reaches of the Huaihe River upon completion in 2005, and the planned reservoir, with a storage capacity of 8.56 billion cubic meters, will enable the region to withstand extremely heavy flooding.


The project is designed to protect more than 666,000 hectares of farmland and six million local residents from the threat of floods in this region.


Construction of the project was first approved by the State Council in 1958 but was suspended in 1962 due to financial reasons. Construction on the project was restarted in December 2001.


Total investment in the project is estimated to be 2.267 billion yuan (about US$273 million), most of which comes from the central government.


(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2003)


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