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Floods Force Evacuation of 300,000 in China

Rising floodwaters have forced the evacuation of 300,000 people from the Pihe River Valley, part of the swollen Huaihe River Valley area in east China, local flood control officials said on Friday.

Continuous heavy rains or rainstorms in the Dabie Mountain area pushed water levels in the 253 km Pihe River almost beyond capacity, said officials with the Flood Control Headquarters of Liu'an City in western Anhui Province, east China.

The officials said the evacuation came after more than 20 sections of dykes were breached, affecting 1.1 million of the 1.6 million residents in the valley, and the water showed no sign of abating.

About 130,000 people are fighting floods along the river, said the officials.

To prevent the swollen Huaihe River from overflowing and being breached, water has been diverted into nine floodwater diversion areas in the past week to protect major cities and the key national railway line running through the province.

More rain has been forecast for the Huaihe River Valley, home to over 100 million people, before July 13.

Up to 800,000 people were fighting floodwater along the mainstream embankments of the Huaihe River as water levels at all major hydraulic stations exceeded the warning marks.

(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2003)

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