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State Council congratulates lake drainage team
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The quake relief headquarters of the State Council (cabinet) Tuesday sent a congratulatory telegram to the Tangjiashan lake emergency rescue headquarters for the successful drainage of the quake lake.

"After more than 10 consecutive days of hard work, you successfully drained the Tangjiashan quake lake and eliminated a huge threat of secondary disaster after the May 12 quake," the telegram said.

"Your work has ensured the people's security, avoided a huge loss and created a miracle in dealing with large quake-formed lakes," it said.

"The State Council quake relief headquarters would like to express heart-felt gratitude and respect to the troops, geologists and quake and weather technicians working at the front line and those who helped evacuate people in low-lying areas," it said.

The headquarters urged people to continue the work until they were done with follow-up activity in terms of drainage and evacuations.

The Tangjiashan lake was formed after quake-triggered landslides from Tangjiashan Mountain blocked the Tongkou River running through Beichuan County, one of the worst-hit areas in the quake that struck southwestern Sichuan Province.

Had the lake overflowed, it could have threatened some 1 million people on the lower reaches of the lake.

A man-made spillway started to drain the lake on Saturday morning and military engineers used recoil-less guns, bazookas and dynamite on Sunday and Monday to blast boulders and other obstructions in the channel and speed up the outflow.

The lake shrank dramatically on Tuesday as muddy water flowed into the low-lying areas.

About half of the lake's 250 million cubic meters of water has been discharged since the drainage started.

More than 250,000 people in low-lying areas of Mianyang were relocated under a plan based on the assumption that one-third of the lake volume breached the dam.

(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2008)

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