Flood warning lifted along the Yangtze River

Beijing (AsiaNews/SCMP) – After eight days of torrential rain waters along the banks of the Yangtze or Blue River are back to manageable levels enabling Chinese authorities to lift the flood warning for the river. In the city of Yichang (Hubei province), hundreds of residents have thus been able to go home.

At its peak, water had reached 54.5 metres (180 ft), 1.5 metre (6 ft) above the danger level. Although the floodwaters started receding last night local police is still patrolling the riverbank.

Many residents have said they felt safer with the presence of the Three Gorges Dam which helps regulate water levels. Dam operators had lowered power production for flood control. However, should water levels rise the dam's safety could still be at risk. The dam's five-level lock remained closed to shipping two days ago for the first time.

"There is no danger." an official at the Three Gorges hydrological station said. But He Rongjun, a spokesperson for Sichuan's disaster relief office, warned that whilst rain has stopped, meteorologists are forecasting at least three additional major storms over the next few weeks. "We will not be moving any rescue workers from the front line any time soon. We are still on high alert," he said.

Recent heavy rains have affected mostly Sichuan and Hubei provinces killing 106 and 83 people respectively. The total number of injured stands at about 10,000 with another 300,000 evacuees.