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China struggles to contain lake

Dongting Lake (China), Aug 24 (Reuters): An army of Chinese flood fighters struggled today to plug leaks in the vast dyke network around swollen Dongting Lake, seeking to shield the homes of millions as a flood crest neared and more rain loomed.

On another incongruously hot and sunny day in the dramatic battle to contain a lake the size of Luxembourg, huge squads of peasant farmers rushed in sandbags, rocks and soil to shore up weak points in the defensive wall.

Flood control officials in the southern province of Hunan said teams had toiled throughout the night to plug holes in dykes.

“By this morning, they were under control,” Hu Xinyao told reporters.

By mid-afternoon today, with the flood crest driving down the Yangtze due to reach the lake tomorrow morning, there had been no significant breaches of the defences, officials said.

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