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Water level of quake lake edges toward sluice
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The Tangjiashan "quake lake" in China's Sichuan Province edged closer to the top of its dam on Tuesday as the volume hit stored 205.5 million cubic meters as of 5 PM, according to the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR).

An aerial photo taken on May 28, 2008 shows the Tangjiashan earthquake-induced lake near Beichuan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province. The earthquake-induced lake is at risk of bursting and threatening thousands of people downstream.

The water level of the quake formed lake was 737.33 meters, up 0.7 meters from 8 a.m. on Tuesday, and 1.8 meters higher than the 735.53-meter level at 8 AM on Monday.

Cheng Dianlong, deputy chief of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said the water level was 2.37 meters from the lowest point of the blockage at 739.15 meters.

He said when the water would flow into the sluice depended on the rainfall in the next few days.

The MWR was keeping a close eye to the lake and making every effort to avert a flood, said a ministry spokesman.

Water Resources Minister Chen Lei and other experts arrived at Tangjiashan quake lake on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the disaster control and relief plans.

The 8.0-magnitude tremor, which has claimed 69,107 lives as of Tuesday noon, left 34 quake lakes in its aftermath, of which 28 are at risk of bursting their banks.

Altogether 158,000 people will have to move from their homes if Tangjiashan lake causes flooding.

The government has earmarked 200 million yuan (US$28.6 million) from the central budget for Sichuan to control the swelling lakes that threaten to burst and flood the downstream regions.

The disaster-relief personnel and armed forces completed a diversion channel to drain the water in Tangjiashan quake lake on May 31.

About 135,500 cubic meters of mud and rocks have been removed from the Tangjiashan lake, leaving a 475-meter-long channel up to 10 meters wide leading from the blockage.

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