About 30,000 people had been evacuated by 5 PM Wednesday after a collapse at a reservoir blocked a river in Wuxi County in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality on Tuesday, according to the local government.The collapse occurred when employees were working with about 100,000 cubic meters of rocks at Zhongliang Reservoir at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, according to local rescue headquarters.
The waters of the Xixi River, a major tributary of the Daning River, rose to 536 meters above sea level inside the reservoir, about two meters below the dam's top and 26 meters from the river bed, according to the local government.
The water is still rising, posing a great threat to the homes of those evacuated from eight townships along the river's lower reaches.
Some water is filtering through the dam, slowing down the rising waters, and the dam itself shows no signs of breakdown, according to rescue headquarters.
Rescuers have rushed to the site and more engineers were expected to arrive by Wednesday night.
Yesterday, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters initiated a B-grade flood alert after water levels on the Xijiang in southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region rose 8.89 meters above the warning threshold.More than 20,000 residents were evacuated after the river water spilled over a dike in the eastern part of the city, whilst in western districts the river water had only 0.42 meters to reach the dike's rim.
The level at Wuzhou City reached 26.19 meters at 4 PM on Wednesday, according to the local hydrologic station. The city expected to see the first flood crest early today, when water levels were expected to reach 26.5 meters, 9.2 meters above the warning line.
The office said the local garrison and general population were working hard to reinforce the dike. More than 2,000 soldiers were dispatched to Wuzhou to help the flood control work on Wednesday morning.
E Jingping, general secretary of the state headquarters and Vice Minister of Water Resources is now heading a task force in Wuzhou, directing flood control and relief work.
Torrential rains since June 16 have caused floods, mudslides and landslides across the south and east of the country, and are forecast to continue.
(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2005)