Palaces For The People
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Yellow River main dike holds, but inner barrier breached

Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Yellow River main dike holds, but inner barrier breached

The main dike of Yellow River hascontained flood waters, but an inner dike, in Lankao County of central China's Henan Province, had been breached, said a local official Monday.

The inner dike had been broken into three by the rising waters on Sept. 18 and Sept. 20, said Kong Weicheng, a senior official ofthe Lankao County government.

The inner dike was built 57 km from the main dike on the southern river bank to protect farmlands in the area between the stream and the main dike.

Water levels averaged 1.3 meters deep in this area, according to Kong.

The area, an alluvial flat, was earmarked as an overflow area in the rainy season, but farmers were allowed to grow crops there in the dry season as the earth was very fertile, said Zhang Jinliang, official with the Yellow River Conservancy Committee.

The Yellow River had moved slightly northward in Lankao in 1855and left the wide alluvial flat along the southern bank.

Due to reduction of river water in recent years, the alluvial flat along the Yellow River has not been flooded for years.

Farmlands have been reclaimed and many people have settled on the alluvial flat along the lower reaches of the river which crosses Henan and east China's Shandong Provinces in the past 150 years.

The water levels of the lower reaches have increased since Xiaolangdi Reservoir, a major water conservancy and irrigation facility on the Yellow River, started to discharge floodwater in early September, pressured by continuous flooding in the middle reaches.

About 18,000 residents in 16 villages were affected by floodingin Lankao, Kong said.

Days later the floodwater surged downstream, threatening around96,800 people in Shandong.

More than 180 boats have been sent to the flood-hit area and about 5,000 people had been evacuated from the lowest region of the area in Lankao, Kong said, adding that the others would soon be moved.

The provincial government has established a 2.5-million-yuan relief fund, and 600 tents, 29 tons of coal and 4.3 tons of flour have been sent to the area.

From a long-term perspective, all residents should move out of the alluvial flat area, said Xue Xianlin, deputy director of the provincial water resources department.

In Dongming County, Shandong Province, 12,300 hectares of farmland have been hit by the floodwater discharges with the average water level reaching 1.5 meters.

By Oct. 5, some 5,910 residents had been evacuated from the flood-hit area in Dongming.

The local government said 40 tons of flour, 1,000 tents, 4,000 tons of coal and 20 tons of diesel oil had been sent to the victims with 780,000 yuan in relief funding.

The main dike along the lower reaches of the Yellow River, running 1,371 km, has not been breached for the past 57 years.

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