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Exterminators Move into Three Gorges Reservoir
Chinese pest control experts have begun what might be the biggest extermination project since the Pied Piper rid Hamlin of its rats.

With four truckloads of poisoned bait, costing 250,000 yuan (US$30,100), they have begun a program to eradicate mice in the planned Three Gorges reservoir area in a bid to prevent diseases when it is flooded.

Experts at the Hubei Provincial Diseases Control Center in Wuhan fear the mice will flee the reservoir bed to the river banks when the world's largest water control project begins to store water in March next year.

The first batch of poisoned bait was transported from Wuhan, the provincial capital, to the reservoir area on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River Thursday, the Beijing Morning Post reports.

The experts stressed the poisonous bait would not endanger humans and livestock. Workers from local health departments will be sent to collect the dead mice and remaining bait which would either be burned or buried deep where it could not pollute water sources.

The newspaper reports that special financial allocations had been made by the provincial government to exterminate mice so as to prevent the spread of epidemic diseases.

Hubei had finished 90 percent of the task of cleaning up the reservoir bed, said the experts from the diseases control center.

Another battle against mice would be launched at the reservoir area before the Three Gorges Dam begins storing water, the newspaper quotes the experts as saying.

(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2002)

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