Chemicals adds to China’s quake lake fears

Around 5,000 tonnes of dangerous chemicals are trapped downstream from the Tangjiashan "quake lake", which is in danger of bursting its banks, the Beijing News said on Thursday.

The chemicals, which include sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, have to be moved to safe ground, the Beijing News said, citing local environmental authorities.

The authorities have already evacuated more than 150,000 people living below the swollen Tangjiashan lake, formed by landslides after the devastating May 12 earthquake. But it has been raining at the site from early Thursday, hampering efforts by more than 600 soldiers to open a giant sluice to discharge floodwaters, Xinhua news agency said.

The Finance Ministry said it was funnelling an extra 1 billion yuan (US$144.2 million) into relief work on an estimated 35 quake lakes in addition to 400 million yuan already allotted to work on smaller, damaged dams.

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