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China-Earthquake 3rdLd-Writethru 05-27 Web

80,000 more to be evacuated

Chinese officials rushed today to evacuate another 80,000 people in the path of potential floodwaters building up behind a quake-spawned dam as soldiers carved a channel to try to drain away the threat.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported emergency workers would try to complete the evacuation by midnight, taking the number of people moved out of the threatened valley to almost 160,000, from more than 30 townships,

The Tangjiashan lake in northern Sichuan province, formed when a massive landslide blocked a river, is one of dozens of fragile dams created during the earthquake that pose a new destructive threat in the disaster zone.

Soldiers hauled explosives through the mountains to reach the area, and the official Chinese Daily said today on its Web Site they were "preparing to dynamite the barrier." State television showed live footage of heavy earth-moving equipment being used to carve out a 200-yard channel to drain the water.

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"We are prepared to get rid of the trees by chopping and explosion. After that, the second batch of equipment will be moved in," Liu Ning, chief engineer at the Ministry of Water Resources, said.

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