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China Contains Overflowing Quake-Formed Lake

BY Admin  June 10, 2008 at 10:00 AM EDT

People watch Tangjiashan quake lake drain; AP

Waters poured out of the Tangjiashan quake lake, the largest
of more than 30 formed by the quake, after soldiers blasted away rocks, mud and
other debris blocking the waterway’s path, reported Reuters.

Towns in nearby low-lying areas were alerted in case of
flooding, but the official Xinhua news agency said more than half of the 8.8 billion
cubic feet of water in the lake had been drained by Tuesday evening, according
to the Associated Press.

Earlier, muddy water seeped into the low-lying,
earthquake-damaged town of Beichuan.
Residents had already been evacuated and those who were left were preparing to
leave if the waters rose too high.

“Everybody feels lucky that it didn’t submerge the
streets and the neighborhood,” said Wu Zhenxing of another nearby town,
Qinglian.

More than 250,000 people out of a total 1.3 million who live
downstream had moved to higher ground for fear the barrier holding back the
lake would break.

“So far everything is happening within expectations. As
things are, we don’t expect to have to evacuate any more,” said Zhou Hua,
spokesman for the lake relief operation, told Reuters.

The 7.9-magnitude quake in May killed an estimated 69,000
people, but 17,000 others remain missing, according to CNN.

Also Tuesday, Xinhua said searchers found the wreckage of a
helicopter and the bodies of 19 quake survivors, medical workers and crew in
the mountainous region of southwestern China near the quake’s epicenter.
The helicopter had crashed May 31 after flying into fog and turbulence, the AP
reported.

Authorities also confirmed the death of Mao Mao, a
9-year-old female giant panda, in the breeding center at the Wolong reserve,
said Xinhua.

She was one of six pandas that went missing after the quake
damaged the center and killed five workers. The other five pandas were found
alive.

A 5.2-magnitude earthquake rumbled in the Inner Mongolia
autonomous region on Tuesday, while another 5.5-magnitude tremor hit Qinghai hours later.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, according to Xinhua and Reuters.