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Ice flows affect hundreds in Xinjiang
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Ice flows caused by recent extreme weather changes on an inland river on the China-Kazakhstan border have affected more than 800 residents, local government authorities said.

By Tuesday, the flows had affected six of nine counties in the Ili River Valley of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, destroying embankments and flooding 315 homes, the government of the Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture of Ili said.

More than 100 cattle and 10,448 poultry were killed. About 1,008 hectares of farmland, as well as 35 tons of aquatic products, were flooded. The direct economic loss is estimated to be about 7.25 million yuan (US$1 million).

To date, 226 trapped residents have been relocated. There has been no report of human casualties.

Since January 22, the low temperature in the region was about minus 22 degrees Celsius, freezing up the narrow, zigzagging sections of the Ili River and causing ice flows along its 442-km China section.

As temperatures rebounded, the ice flows had worsened. It is said the run was the most severe on the river since 2000.

Governments in the region have sent workers and bulldozers to reinforce the embankment and remove ice from the blocked sections, amid the local meteorological station's warning of severe spring flooding caused by snowmelt.

The Ili originates in Xinjiang and empties into Kazakhstan's Balkhash Lake.

(Xinhua News Agency February 14, 2008)

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