Thousands of civilians and soldiers have been mobilized to patrol the banks of the flood-prone Yellow River in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, as ice threated to jam the river's flow.
Ge Feng, deputy commander of the regional flood control and drought relief headquarters, said ice had been thawing along a 110-km stretch of the river from Araxan Prefecture to Erdos City. However, the 720-km section in the lower stretch of the river in the region was still blocked by ice.
A water diversion measure was deployed Saturday from the upper stream to the Wuliangsu Lake and a drainage area in the Hetao Plain.
The diversion, expected to continue till March 26, will remove about 200 million cubic meters of water in total from the main river course, which has risen close to its record of 1.75 billion cubic meters in the Inner Mongolia section, said Ge, who is also director of the regional water resources bureau.
The Yellow River, China's second longest, freezes and thaws at different times, posing ice flood threats at sections mainly in Inner Mongolia and east China's Shandong Province.
Four major bank breaches caused by the river's ice runs have occurred in Inner Mongolia since the founding of New China in 1949.
In March 2008, icy water flooded 11 villages and a township in Hangjin Banner, causing the evacuation of around 13,000 people. About 20,000 houses were destroyed and thousands of livestock died.