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Mass evacuation underway for fear of 'lake quake' burst
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Up to 1.3 million people in west China's Sichuan Province have been ordered to evacuate to higher grounds for fear of a major "quake lake" burst as a result of flooding and strong aftershocks.

Tan Li, Party Secretary of Mianyang City and also chief of Mianyang City Quake Control and Relief Headquarters, on Friday issued an order that 1.3 million people living downstream Tangjiashan, a swelling quake-induced lake, must evacuate to higher grounds demarcated by government departments.

A fear that Tangjiashan lake, formed by landslides that blocked a river known as the Jianjiang after the May 12 quake, which is at risk of breaching its bank, worsened as heavy downpours started about 10 p.m. on Wednesday and last into Thursday around Tangjiashan, driving up the water level in the lake.

Tangjiashan lake, one of 35 such lakes is inaccessible by road and can only be reached by foot or air.

Meanwhile, the seismological observatory in Sichuan province predicts that aftershocks will continue along the northern end of the Wenchuan-Beichuan-Qingchuan faultline in the forth coming days, with the most powerful one being estimated to go around 6.5 in terms of magnitude.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2008)

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