BEIJING, July 9 – Flood control and rescue efforts at Dongting Lake in Hunan province reached a crucial phase late on Monday night, with a breached dike sealed at around 10:30 pm.

The breach, 226 meters wide, occurred at around 5:48 pm on Friday at a dike in Tuanzhou, a township in Huarong county in the city of Yueyang, which is part of a dike network around Dongting Lake, China’s second-largest freshwater lake.

Zhang Yingchun, Hunan’s executive vice-governor, said more than 100,000 cubic meters of rock have been used in sealing off the breach, and crews had been sealing off 3.5 meters of the breach an hour.

Following the dike breach, a large volume of water from Dongting Lake rushed into the Tuanzhou dike region, flooding 47.6 square kilometers of the region’s total area of 55 sq km.

At least 7,000 residents were evacuated after the dike burst.

Several local schools have been turned into temporary shelters, housing about 4,000 residents and providing essential items such as quilts, towels and buckets to disaster victims.


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