China facing worst flood threat in 12 years

      "Although the current situation along the Yangtze River has yet to reach the danger level, it is definitely at a crucial point," the China Daily quoted Wang Jingquan, director of the flood control and drought relief office affiliated to the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, as saying. As of Wednesday, the water level of all sections of the Yangtze River had exceeded the annual average level for mid-July, Wang said. Since June 7, water levels of the Jiujiang section and Boyang Lake along the Yangtze River have gone beyond the alert level twice. The water level at the Three Gorges Dam reached 150 meters, 5 meters higher than the alert level during flood season. "We are definitely facing great challenges in flood control along the Yangtze River because heavy rainfalls usually hit the river valley in July and August," Wang said. The three massive floods in the Yangtze River valley in 1975, 1983 and 1998 all occurred in July and August, he said. "There will be no room for optimism as the incoming Typhoon Conson will add to the grave situation in flood control," Wang said. "If heavy rain hits the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, coupled with the continuous rainfall in the middle and lower reaches, severe flooding similar to that in 1998 will occur." In 1998, 4,150 people were killed and 18.4 million were relocated. Economic losses totaled 255 billion Yuan.

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