Blast 1st step to dis­charge lake formed af­ter tremor

Project to dig out flood relief chan­nel; au­thor­i­ties say risks ‘un­der con­trol’

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By GUO ANFEI in Lu­dian, Yun­nan guoan­fei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Flood­wa­ters in a bar­rier lake formed af­ter Sun­day’s earthquake in Yun­nan province will be dis­charged within two days af­ter an ex­plo­sion is set off in the de­bris bar­rier, a po­lice of­fi­cial in charge of the ex­plo­sion said on Thurs­day.

“We have carved out a sim­ple road lead­ing to the bar­rage and the col­lapsed part of the moun­tains on the sides, al­low­ing our ma­chines to go in,” said Liu Ge, from the wa­ter and elec­tric­ity sec­tion of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Armed Po­lice Force. Liu is re­spon­si­ble for car­ry­ing out the ex­plo­sion at the bar­rier lake.

Prepa­ra­tions are un­der­way so the ex­plo­sion can be car­ried out on Fri­day or Satur­day.

The plan for re­mov­ing the bar­rier lake has been ap­proved, and a flood relief chan­nel, mea­sur­ing 5 me­ters wide and 8 me­ters deep, will be ex­ca­vated on the top of the bar­rier.

The dig­ging of the chan­nel is ex­pected to take about five days on the con­di­tion that more than 150 ma­chines, in­clud­ing ex­ca­va­tors, bull­doz­ers and load­ers, work day and night.

“The risks of the bar­rier lake are un­der con­trol,” Sun Huaikun, a se­nior engi­neer deal­ing with the bar­rier lake, said on Thurs­day. “But the re­sponse plan should be im­ple­mented as soon as pos­si­ble.”

The part of the Ni­u­lan­jiang River that runs through Lu­dian county, the epi­cen­ter of Sun­day’s quake, was blocked by rocks and mud from moun­tains on both sides of the river.

Based on the cur­rent in­flow, it is es­ti­mated that the wa­ter level could reach around 1,176 me­ters by 11 am on Fri­day, near­ing the height of the bar­rage (1,216 me­ters), ac­cord­ing to the wa­ter au­thor­ity in neigh­bor­ing Huize county.

If the wa­ter over­flows the de­bris bar­rier, it might af­fect more than 2,000 peo­ple and 5,500 houses. Roads and two power sta­tions that are down­stream also could be dam­aged.

More than 4,200 peo­ple liv­ing down­stream have been re­lo­cated to avoid the flood­ing.

To dis­charge the wa­ter in the ris­ing bar­rier lake, the top pri­or­ity is to con­trol the in­flow of wa­ter, Sun said.

The reser­voir up­stream from the bar­rier lake has stopped dis­charg­ing wa­ter since the earthquake.

A lo­cal res­i­dent sur­named Li said he was wor­ried about the ris­ing bar­rier lake, be­cause it has sub­merged part of the vil­lage where he lives.

“We can­not go back home un­less the flood re­cedes and the roads ap­pear again,” he said. Zheng Jinran in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this story.

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Armed po­lice trans­port an ex­ca­va­tor on the bar­rier lake formed by Sun­day’s earthquake in Lu­dian county, Yun­nan province, on Thurs­day.

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