Thousands battle floods along Yangtze River

Updated 2017-07-03 16:26:47 Xinhua
Soldiers relocate stranded people in Xinshao County, Shaoyang City of central China's Hunan Province, July 2, 2017. Recently Shaoyang witnessed the heaviest flood this year. (Xinhua/Lyu Jianshe)

Soldiers relocate stranded people in Xinshao County, Shaoyang City of central China's Hunan Province, July 2, 2017. Recently Shaoyang witnessed the heaviest flood this year. (Xinhua/Lyu Jianshe)

Thousands of soldiers, armed police, civil servants and members of the public are battling floods in several provinces along the Yangtze River.

In Hunan Province, the water level at the Changsha monitoring station in the Xiangjiang River, a major Yangtze tributary, reached a record high of 39.51 meters early Monday, higher than the previous record of 39.18 meters set by a massive flood in 1998.

Floods have inundated houses, uprooted trees, damaged cars and sabotaged roads in Changsha, capital of Hunan.

The public, even elementary school students who are on summer vacation, volunteered to help fill sandbags to prevent the water from overflowing. Fourth grader Yang Shan, who lives in downtown Changsha, distributed ropes and filled sandbags for soldiers to carry to the riverbank.

Intermittent rain is forecast to last in Changsha until Wednesday, and the city is under heavy pressure to battle flooding.

The Three Gorges Dam in the upper stream from Hunan has reduced water discharge by 70 percent in the last three days.

Its flow was 27,000 cubic meters per second before July 1, but has now been reduced to 8,000 cubic meters per second, according to the Yangtze River Flood Prevention Headquarters.

The reduction stopped 3 billion cubic meters of water and lowered the water level by up to 1.5 meters, the headquarters said.

"We hope the reduction of outflow will give soldiers and the people enough time to evacuate and stack up sand bags to battle the flood," said Wu Zhaohui, an official with the water resources bureau in neighboring Hubei Province.

In Hubei alone, 16,000 people are on high alert for flooding.

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