China evacuates 7,000 people following dike breach amidst heavy rains

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Beijing, Jul 8 (PTI) China has evacuated at least 7,000 people following a dike breach during the weekend at Dongting Lake, the country's second-largest freshwater lake in central Hunan province, the state media reported on Monday.

According to the China Centre for Resources Satellite Data and Application (CRESDA), five satellites have been deployed to provide real-time monitoring of the affected areas.

The dike of Dongting Lake dike caved in on Friday at Tuanzhou township of Hunan's Yueyang city, triggering flooding in the area. It forced the evacuation of at least 7,000 residents, Xinhua news agency reported.

Thousands of rescuers, including firefighters, hydrologists, volunteers and police, have been working to safeguard lives and properties.

Satellite images revealed extensive flooding in areas previously identified as meadows or land.

On Monday, relief teams faced a new crisis as an embankment seen as the second line of defence following a dike breach was under threat, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 300 police officers and firefighters are working to stem the piping effect that is eroding the embankment in Huarong County, the local government said.

The 14.3-kilometre embankment is around two kilometres behind the dike which burst following a heavy rainstorm.

The piping effect can hollow out a dike and lead to a burst if not properly handled, the Xinhua report said.

Thousands of rescue workers are working around the clock, closing the breach at a rate of 60 to 80 metres a day, the report said.

The 226-metre breach is expected to be sealed by Tuesday noon. So far, 138.5 metres of the breach in the dike has been sealed. PTI KJV PY PY PY