Yangtze city at center of China's latest flood battle

14:52, July 28, 2010      

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Water sluice down at Three Gorges Dam, central China's Hubei Province, July 28, 2010. A flood peak with water flux of 56000 cubic meters per second reached the Three Gorges Dam at 8 o'clock Wednesday morning. (Xinhua/Cheng Min)

More than 9,000 soldiers and emergency workers were mobilized to lay sandbags on dikes and to check for leaks in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, as the city on Wednesday braced for flood waters from two swollen rivers.

According to the Yangtze Water Resources Commission, flood peaks of the mainstream of the Yangtze River and the Hanjiang River, the Yangtze's largest tributary, are expected to converge in Wuhan.

Wuhan has a population of about 9.1 million and is a major transport and economic hub in central China.

The level of Hanjiang River is expected to rise to 30.5 meters, the highest in two decades, when the flood peak passes Wuhan, while the level of the mainstream of Yangtze is forecast to pass the danger line to 27.3 meters on Thursday.

In nearby Xiantao City, workers were on standby Wednesday to open flood gates to divert water from the swollen Hanjiang River to a walled low-lying area covering 450 square kilometers.

The low-lying area, stretching from Xiantao to southeast parts of Wuhan, comprises farmland and fish ponds. It is designed as an emergency reservoir during serious floods.

About 5,000 residents in Xiantao and another 25,000 in southeast Wuhan were evacuated overnight.
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