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Tens of thousands of villagers evacuated as fresh downpours threaten riverbanks

08-05-2010 09:22 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

NONG'AN, Jilin, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- With the approach of a new round of torrential rains, the country roads in flood-ravaged Nong'an County in northeast China were packed with villagers fleeing their homes Wednesday.

Traveling aboard tractors, trucks, mini-buses, and motorcycles, and carrying belongings such as quilts and chicken, thousands of people set off on a journey of exodus.

Up to 27,000 villagers living downstream from the Songhua River in Jilin Province need to be evacuated as downpours are expected to batter Nong'an from Wednesday evening until Friday, said Wang Wei, deputy Communist Party chief of the county.

"Fresh downpours may lead to the breach of riverbanks and two reservoirs upstream would have to open sluices to discharge water, which would threaten the lives of residents downstream," Wang said.

"The mass evacuation began in the early morning today. By now, 18,000 people have moved to safety. There are still 9,000 young villagers who were asked to stay and help fortify the riverbanks," he said in the late evening.

Torrential rains pounded the county one week ago, swelling the Songhua River and inundating almost 50,000 hectares of cropland, or about half of the total farming area.

"I really don't want to leave my home. But the village officials told me: so long as you are still alive, you will have your home again," said Yu Shutao from Liansankeng Village.

"I will bring my family to go to my elder brother's home in the town. As soon as the floods recede, I will come home to attend my cropland," he said.

Thirty-two-year-old villager Sun Lianhua sat in a mini-bus with her dog.

"The dog is like a member of my family. I will bring it everywhere I go," she said.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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