New Delhi, May 31: A total of 197,477 people were evacuated to safe ground at 8 am on Saturday in line with an emergency plan, an official with the quake relief headquarters of Mianyang City in southwest China said. According to the official Xinhua agency, the plan was drawn up for the contingency of one third of the volume of quake-formed Tangjiashan Lake burst out.
Earlier, it was stated that up to 1.3 million people in southwest China's Sichuan Province were ordered to evacuate to higher grounds for fear of a major quake lake burst as a result of flooding and strong aftershocks. The order was passed by Tan Li, Communist Party chief of Mianyang City, on Friday renewed an order that 1.3 million people living downstream from Tangjiashan must evacuate to higher grounds demarcated by the government.
At 4 pm Thursday, Tan issued a No. 1 order demanding about 200,000 people living downstream from Tangjiashan in the main urban districts of Mianyang City should start evacuation by 8 am Saturday. He said the evacuation must be completed by 8 am Sunday.
Two other plans require the relocation of 1.2 million people if half of the lake volume was released, or 1.3 million if the barrier of the quake lake fully opened.
The Tangjiashan lake, one of 34 such bodies of water, was formed when landslides caused by the May 12 quake blocked the Jianjiang River, which runs into the Fujiang River about 40 km north of Mianyang.