Huge Chinese lake close to overflowing

Map
from AlertNet
Published on 21 Aug 2002
Image, acquired on Aug 21, shows the Yangtze River and the Dongting Lake. The red/brown areas are towns and cities.  Satellite imagery supplied courtesy of NASA

China's southern province of Hunan declared a flood emergency as rivers swollen by a tropical storm poured into Dongting Lake, which covers an area the size of Luxembourg.

More than 2,000 soldiers had been mobilised to reinforce embankments around the lake that protect more than 10 million people and 667,000 hectares (1.6 million acres) of farmland, state media said.

Dongting, China's second largest freshwater lake and a giant overflow for the flood-prone Yangtze River, had risen more than two metres over the 32-metre (105-feet) flood-warning mark in the past three days, a local flood control official said.

The lake -- which covers about 1,000 square miles (2,700 square km) -- is at its highest level in almost three years.

It is still short of its historical high of 35.9 metres (118 ft), reached in 1998 when Chgina's worst floods in decades killed more than 4,000 people, state television said.
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