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Great Wall collapses after heavy rain, repair work underway

(Xinhua)

08:19, August 10, 2012

SHIJIAZHUANG/BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Repair work is underway for a section of the Great Wall in north China's Hebei province that collapsed after days of continuous rain, local officials said Thursday.

The collapse occurred Monday, when strong currents of water from the mountains crushed the Dajingmen section of the Great Wall in Zhangjiakou following days of continuous rain, an official with the city's Qiaoxi district said.

Experts have cleared the fallen section, which extends 36 meters, and reinforced other loose sections to prevent further collapses. Cracks were also spotted on other parts of the wall near the collapsed section.

Cultural relics protection experts are making proposals to repair the damaged areas.

The Dajingmen section of the Great Wall was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and has endured years of erosion, which also contributed to the collapse, experts said.

A great amount of rainfall has battered China since the rainy season began last month, causing widespread flooding, landslides and heavy losses across the country.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said Thursday that torrential rains and flooding in Beijing and Hebei province have left 112 dead and 21 missing since July 21.

Natural disasters are also threatening the country's cultural relics, according to a separate statement issued Thursday by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

A storage site of the National Museum in Beijing and an exhibition hall of the provincial museum of western China's Gansu have been affected by recent rainstorms that damaged eight pieces of precious cultural relics, said the statement.

The administration issued a circular asking local authorities to carry out thorough inspections on cultural heritage units, museums and affiliated storage sites to guarantee the safety of personnel and relics, it added.

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