New Delhi, May 21 : Most of the lakes and damaged dams in China's Sichuan Province are currently safe, but face the danger of heavy rain and aftershocks in the next few days, an official has warned.
The China Daily quoted quoted Li Chengyun, the vice-governor of Sichuan province, as saying on Monday that 21 lakes could breach their banks, and efforts are being made to reduce the risks. The National Meteorological Bureau has forecast moderate or heavy rain - 13 to 30 mm - to hit the disaster areas in the next three days. The Sichuan earthquake administration said there is still the possibility of severe aftershocks. Xu Shuisen, an official with the Chengdu earthquake administration, told China Business News the government was aware of the danger of floods caused by lakes bursting their banks, and had taken steps to reduce the risks. Two experts and soldiers have been assigned to each lake and dam to keep a 24-hour watch.
The government also has plans in hand to evacuate people downstream should the need arise. In some places, troops and construction teams have been deployed to divert the flow of water from the lakes and dams. In 1933, three newly formed lakes burst their banks 45 days after an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale struck Diexi in western Sichuan. Floods extended 250 km to Dujiangyan, killing 2,500 people. The hardest-hit area, which has 29 dams, is located in a valley in the upper reaches of the river, he said.
Most of the dams are solid gravity dams or gate dams, which are strong enough to sustain overflowing water. Five hydropower stations where the earthquake's epicenter was located are relatively small, with a total storage of 1.5 million cu m.