Quake Lakes in Tangjiashan Discharged

By Xin Xiu, Sound of Hope Radio Network (SOH)
June 12, 2008 Updated: June 12, 2008

The quake lakes in Tangjiasha, Beichuan County formed by the landslides blocking rivers after the Sichuan earthquake were manually discharged on June 10. The increasing water levels and frequent aftershocks have made the quake lakes an impending danger.

The lakes were discharged at a rate of 5,980 cubic meters per second, which equals the largest flood in the past hundred years. By the afternoon, the water level in the river of Tongkou Couty in Beichuan rose near 20 meters.

Sound of Hope interviewed a Beichuan earthquake victim who has evacuated to neighboring Mianyang City.

“We have been informed to evacuate to an elevated region, and notified to be well-prepared for immediate evacuation whenever the situation becomes alarming. People have moved everything that they could from lower-elevation areas, and have used sand bags to block their doors. Many of us from Beichuan have not yet evacuated because we are currently staying in Jiozhou gymnasium that is built on an elevated ground. Many including Mianyang (local) people have not yet evacuated; only those closer to the water where the topography is lower have evacuated, but everyone is well-prepared.”

However, according to some local residents, the evacuation preparation has not been carried out comprehensively. When SOH interviewed an elderly Mianyang resident on June 10, he said he did not receive any notification about discharging the lakes, and had no knowledge about the orange alarm situation.

“I didn't hear or receive any notification, we reside in Yongxing, Mianyang, and there is no means of arrangement or notification here.”

At the same time, because there is a large chemical industry facility in Mianyang City, the water passing through this region became polluted.

One resident said, “We live upstream of Mianyang, the discharge flood does not go through our river, but we are concerned about the backflow from the flood. Now we are informed not to use the nearby river water, not even to wash cloths or hands. If the back flow of the flood really had come to our place, nothing could be used until everything was disinfected including our houses. Mianyang has already started using water in the storage.”

The flood from the quake lake passed Mianyang City by June 10 and reached Yangtze River by June 11.