Water drains from quake-formed lake
Water flowed slowly into a manmade spillway yesterday from a swollen lake formed by a landslide in China's devastating earthquake, easing the immediate threat of a flood that had led to the evacuation of more than 250,000 people.
Engineers were monitoring bridges and river banks downstream to see if they would hold under the rush of water, and work crews were trying to dig a secondary channel to improve the flow, China Central Television and the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Water had been building behind the landslide for nearly four weeks, creating a massive lake that had to be drained carefully to prevent a surge. Even after the draining began, water levels continued to rise but more slowly, appearing to stabilize at a level the government said was unlikely to undermine the dam.
"Emergency work is still proceeding urgently, but in the foreseeable future there's no risk of the dam collapsing," Xinhua quoted Chengdu Military Region Deputy Commander Fan Xiaoguang as saying.
Although experts said the potential for flooding remained, the government seemed relieved and people who have been evacuated to cramped camps for safety anticipated leaving.
"I wish the water would hurry up so we can go home," said Wang Jing, a 25-year-old nurse packed with an estimated 9,500 others into the branch campus of the Sichuan Music School in Mianyang city. "My house is fine."