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Soldiers and police draining to prevent reservoir flooding in NW China

07-13-2010 09:09 BJT Special Report:Rainstorm Batters Large Parts of China |

GOLMUD, Qinghai, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of soldiers and armed police are rushing to complete a drainage channel to prevent a dangerously overfilled reservoir from bursting and flooding a city of 205,700 people in northwest China.

Authorities said they expect to drain the Wenquan Reservoir, 130 km from Golmud City, Qinghai Province, by early Tuesday.

Golmud, which is Mongolian for "place with many rivers," is nestled in a mountainous area where melting snow from the Kunlun Mountains forms rivers that flow through to the Qaidam Basin.

Days of heavy rain this month coincided with the snow-melt and caused torrents of water to pour into the Wenquan Reservoir, pushing up the water level at one point to 1.18 meters above the warning line, officials with the provincial disaster relief headquarters said.

According to the latest weather forecast, rain will again soak Golmud and the reservoir area on July 13. More rains are expected in the coming days in the mountains south of Golmud, which might also cause rivers in the region to overflow.

More than 9,700 residents in the city have been relocated in 1,200 tents in the safe area as of Monday afternoon. Guolemude Town was the hardest-hit, with water as deep as two meters filling the town.

Anbu, a resident of the town, was waiting to be evacuated with her belongings, including a white iron bucket full of kids' toys. "Water is knee-deep in my house. We have to leave our house for fear of flooding," said she.

Soldiers have been using excavators to dig an waterway from the Wenquan Reservoir since July 7. Trucks carrying earth, mud and rocks have dotted the mountain pass leading to the reservoir, about 3,960 meters above sea-level.

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