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Yellow River Flood Warning Issued

Officials have issued a warning that flood waters may damage the dykes on the Yellow River's lower reaches and have advised local flood control departments to strengthen measures to protect the dykes.


Yao Guangwen, an official with State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, told China Daily that flood waters that built up in the tributaries in the river's middle reaches because of continuous rain, have now entered the river's main stream.


"The dykes along the river's lower reaches, most of which are made of earth, may be endangered,'' said Yao.


Among the tributaries flowing into the Yellow River's middle reaches, the Weihe River, mainly in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, has experienced the heaviest flooding since 1981.


The province has been hit by continuous heavy rain since August 25, but fortunately the water level in the Weihe River has started to drop slowly, he said.


The flooding and landslides caused by the heavy rain have forced 10 rail lines linking Urumqi, Chongqing and Guiyang in northwest and southwest China and others cities in the province to stop operation, according to sources in the Xi'an Railways Bureau.


The Xi'an-Ankang railway, which links Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi, and Ankang, a city in southern Shaanxi, was cut by a landslide early Thursday morning, leaving about 6,000 passengers stranded in the Xi'an station.


According to the Ankang railways authorities, it was expected that the Xi'an-Ankang railway would go back into operation early today after more than 50 hours' rescue efforts involving more than 600 rail workers.


And rescue work on other links was still going on by last night.


Up to today, 19 major roads have also been cut by the flooding and landslides and three highways are currently threatened by flood waters, according to the provincial road administration.


Shaanxi, has been suffering from flooding and landslides caused by continuous heavy rain since August 24 and the latest statistics showed that all of its 67 counties and districts, with a population of 4.93 million people, have been hit by the disaster, which has resulted in a total direct economic loss of 4 billion yuan (US$481 million).


(China Daily September 6, 2003)

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