Natural Disasters

Dike Breach Along Dongting Lake Expected to be Sealed by Tuesday, Residents Evacuated and Safe

Main image to the post Dike Breach Along Dongting Lake Expected to be Sealed by Tuesday, Residents Evacuated and Safe

Dike Breach in Hunan Province Expected to be Sealed by Tuesday

Authorities in Hunan province expect to seal off the dike breach along Dongting Lake in Tuanzhou township by noon on Tuesday. As of Sunday afternoon, a significant portion of the 220-meter breach had been plugged, with efforts continuing to close the remaining gap.

The breach occurred on Friday evening, prompting President Xi Jinping to urge immediate rescue and relief efforts. He emphasized the need to evacuate residents in threatened areas and ensure their proper resettlement. A similar breach had occurred in the same township in 1996.

Efforts to plug the breach began on Saturday afternoon, taking advantage of the lowered water level in the lake. Emergency responders are working tirelessly to complete the repairs, utilizing trucks and barges to transport rocks and materials. They aim to rebuild 60 to 80 meters of the dike daily, requiring a total of 100,000 cubic meters of rock.

Over 4,200 emergency responders and 3,000 pieces of equipment are involved in the relief and rescue efforts. The central and provincial governments have allocated a combined 508 million yuan ($71 million) for emergency flood response in Hunan.

The breached dike is located approximately 2 kilometers from a second embankment, which serves as a crucial line of defense. The flooded area covers 47.64 square kilometers, representing 92% of the township's total area, with an average water depth of 5 meters.

An expert team from the Ministry of Water Resources is providing technical support to local teams. Their primary focus is on reinforcing the second embankment to prevent further flooding. All residents of the affected township have been evacuated and resettled, with no reported casualties or injuries.

Once the breach is repaired, authorities plan to use pumping equipment to drain the accumulated water, estimated at 200 million cubic meters. A total of 3,224 residents have been temporarily housed at four schools in Huarong county.

Xiao Juxiang, a 68-year-old resident, described the evacuation process as intense and nerve-wracking. She expressed gratitude for the People's Armed Police Force personnel who assisted in the evacuation and provided essential supplies. She acknowledged the immense effort involved in relocating so many people.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09