Parts of China’s earthquake-hit Sichuan province have become virtual ghost-towns, after the forced evacuation of thousands of people. Nearly 200,000 ‘quake refugees have been moved out of their homes in Mianyang City, amid fears that rivers blocked by landslides might burst their banks and swamp the area.
Mianyang was badly-hit by the May 12th tremors. Many died, the survivors have been living in tents. Now they’ve been ordered to move to higher ground, as soldiers and rescue workers struggle to contain rising water levels.
More than 30 local rivers were blocked by landslides. Army engineers are now trying to dig drainage channels to relieve the pressure. Most of the effort is concentrated on a lake at Tangjiashan, formed when the ‘quake caused a hillside to collapse and block the river below.
Plans have been drawn up to move more than a million people downstream, in what would be one of the largest peacetime evacuations the world has ever seen.