Flooding traps 30,000 in Chinese town

Submerged buildings in Kouqian, Jilin, on 28 July 2010 Kouqian town in Jilin province has been overwhelmed by floodwaters

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Flooding in northeastern China has stranded 30,000 people in one town and washed 1,000 barrels of explosive chemicals into a river, reports say.

In Kouqian town in Jilin province, residents were trapped when a reservoir and two rivers overflowed following torrential rain.

In Jilin city itself, containers of explosive fluid from a chemical plant were washed into the Songhua river.

China is facing its worst flooding in more than a decade.

Weeks of heavy rain have swollen rivers and caused damage, landslides and bridge collapses across a swathe of the country.

According to state media, 928 people have died because of the seasonal bad weather and another 477 are missing.

Map

More than 200 rescue workers have been sent to Kouqian, where tens of thousands of residents are reportedly trapped after the Xingshan reservoir and the Wende and Songhua rivers burst their banks.

Chinese media reports said houses and buildings were under water, and 80 people were trapped in a train station surrounded by water.

In Jilin city, emergency teams were trying to recover barrels of explosive chemicals washed into the river.

Environmental officials were said to be monitoring the water quality in the river.

Further to the south, in Wuhan city in Hubei province, workers were sandbagging river banks ahead of possible flooding where the Yangtze and Han rivers converge.

Three Gorges test

Early on Wednesday, the massive Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze river faced its second test of the season, as floods pushed the water in its reservoir to near capacity.

Vast amounts of water have been released from behind the Three Gorges Dam in recent days

Engineers said the water level rose to 158m (518ft) at 0800 local time (0000 GMT) on Wednesday. The maximum capacity is 175m.

Flow rates hit 56,000 cubic meters per second - a new high for the dam but lower than last week's peak of 70,000 cubic metres per second on the upper levels of the Yangtze, Xinhua news agency said.

Authorities have warned communities downstream to prepare for rising water levels as the dam's huge spill gates release torrents of water.

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