Dam Breach in Shanxi Leads to Flooding, Evacuation

Chinese state media reports that a dam in Shanxi has collapsed causing the shutdown of a highway. This comes amid criticism of the government’s cover up of a water contamination incident due to an industrial aniline spill. From The People’s Daily Online:

The top of an irrigation water duct at the Quting Reservoir in northern China’s Shanxi Province has caved in. This led to the partial collapse of its walls, causing some flooding, and parts of a national highway to be shut down.

Officials say residents near the reservoir have been evacuated. And no casualties have been reported. The Ministry of Water Resources has sent a work team to deal with the flooding.

PLA troops and paramilitary police have also been dispatched to help with rescue work.The No.108 national highway is still blocked due to silt on the road surface.

According to The South China Morning Post, it is unclear how many residents were affected:

Officials said the irrigation duct was built in 1959 and attributed its collapse to its age.

A China News Service report said train services through the county had been suspended at Linfen , which administers Hongtong. A video clip circulating on the internet shows hundreds of passengers queuing at Linfen railway station to have their tickets refunded.

“The train stopped in Linfen for several hours because of an emergency at a dam in Hongtong. Some passengers have started insulting train conductors,” Sina microblogger Yang Jie Zai Long Shang wrote yesterday.

Three hours later he wrote: “The train started again and will take another route for passengers travelling to Taiyuan . Other passengers are getting off the train and taking the bus.”

Xinhua reports reconstruction of the dam has already started:

Repair work started Sunday on part of a reservoir dam that collapsed in north China’s Shanxi Province, the state-run news service Xinhua reported local authorities as saying.

Flooding had forced the relocations of more than 10,000 residents and resulted in the death of one elderly man from Nanyangxie Village, witnesses told the state-run news service Xinhua.

By Sunday night, sludge had been cleared, allowing both railway and highway traffic to resume, sources with the emergency communications headquarters said.

Some residents have returned home, while others remain in temporary shelters, the state-run news service Xinhua reported the source as saying.

February 17, 2013 10:02 AM
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