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China's 'quake lake' shrinks further: report

On Tuesday, torrents of muddy water finally gushed out of the lake, sweeping through towns and villages in Sichuan province that were flattened by last month's devastating earthquake.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 11, 2008
A day after China declared victory over a dangerous "quake lake," waters receded further Wednesday, state press said, but authorities warned the danger period was not over due to predicted heavy rains.

"More than half of the 250 million cubic metre (8.8 billion cubic feet) volume has been discharged and the number of people under threat had dropped from 1.3 million to less than 50,000," Xinhua news agency cited Sichuan Communist Party chief Liu Qibao as saying.

The Tangjiashan lake was created when landslides blocked a river in a particularly remote and mountainous area of Sichuan during the May 12 earthquake.

On Tuesday, Liu, the top official in quake-hit Sichuan province, declared victory over the lake as China prepared to mark the one-month anniversary of the May 12 magnitude-8.0 earthquake that has left nearly 87,000 people dead or missing.

Despite the dramatic drop in water levels in the lake, China's water resource authority said the danger period was not over due to heavy rains predicted in the region, the report said.

"There are still some 100 million cubic metres in the lake, which is subject to the threat of aftershocks, landslides and heavy rain," said Chen Lei, minister of water resources.

"Another major test for us is coming as the flood season approaches," he was quoted as saying.

He added that in the best-case scenario, water from the Tangjiashan lake would be completely cleared before the flood season.

Chen said ministry experts would fly to the lake area to conduct geological studies and assess the risks on Wednesday and Thursday.

"The 25,000 relocated residents of Mianyang are expected to return home in another two days as the flow continues," he said.

On Tuesday, torrents of muddy water finally gushed out of the lake, sweeping through towns and villages in Sichuan province that were flattened by last month's devastating earthquake.

For nearly two weeks, Chinese engineers and soldiers blasted and dug channels in hopes of engineering a controlled release of the water which threatened numerous population centres below the dam.

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China quake students focus on studies to ease the pain
Mianyang, China (AFP) June 11, 2008
A month after a powerful earthquake struck southwest China, teenagers from the destroyed Beichuan Middle School are busy preparing for another stern test -- make-or-break college entrance exams.

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