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A small leak in a discharge gate along a dyke on the Xiangjiang River in Xiangtan City, central China's Hunan Province quickly became a gushing breach on Friday, flooding the local community.
To ensure the embankment of the river itself is not damaged, thousands of soldiers have been dispatched to protect it.
Water from the Xiangjiang River poured through the damaged gate, flooding the surrounding area. Buildings close to the leak were submerged as deep as their first floors.
An irrigation expert says the 40-meter-high water level of the Xiangjiang River created too much pressure on the discharge gate and it collapsed. With the height of water on both sides of the dyke reaching more than 5 meters, there are now fears for the Xiangjiang River embankment. Efforts to stop the surging water are running into problems. Boats can't get close because of the position of the gate and soldiers couldn’t place a stone cage in an accurate position.
After trying to insert two stone cages, the original plan had to be abandoned. Instead, they tried to build up a platform under the gate. The soldiers then started to use sand bags to block the leak.
By two o'clock in the afternoon more than 12-hundred local residents had been evacuated to a safe location. Local authorities are currently trying to draft a plan to seal the leaking discharge gate.