China Evacuates 80,000 on Flood Fears

Dam caused by quake-formed landslide threatens to burst
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 27, 2008 7:09 AM CDT
In this photo released by China's Xinhua news agency, excavators work at Tangjiashan lake in Beichuan County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Monday, May 26, 2008.    (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhou Hua)
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(Newser) – Chinese officials hurried to evacuate 80,000 people today near quake-hit Beichuan as waters rose in a dammed river, the AP reports. Soldiers are working to blast and dig a channel to drain some of the 34 billion gallons of water now held by the fragile dam, created by a quake-driven landslide. The new evacuations bring the total number of people cleared from the valley to 160,000.

Flood concerns are heightened by the oncoming rainy season in Sichuan province. The quake’s official death toll reached 67,183 today, with 20,790 missing and 5 million homeless. “With the destruction by the quake, the living and sanitary conditions have worsened for the local population,” said a health authority. But despite fears, no disease outbreaks have been reported.