Southwest China quake aftermath - Mourning service - Barrier lake still threatens

Added On August 11, 2014

Sunday marks the eighth day following the devastating quake in southwest China's Yunnan Province that has left more than 600 people dead and 112 missing.
Survivors, with the help of soldiers and rescuers, were fighting against potential secondary disasters as they mourned their loved ones killed in the 6.5-magnitude earthquake.
Amid sirens and horns wailing, people stood in silence on Sunday in tribute to victims of the massive earthquake in Ludian County in Yunnan.
"This is a temporary settlement for some 4000 victims after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit southwest China’s Yunnan Province one week ago. This morning we learned that, at 10 o'clock, people voluntarily gather here to pay a 3-minute silent tribute to the victims died in the earthquake. Up till now, more than 610 people have been confirmed dead."
At 10:00 a.m. Sunday, local residents and rescuers stood at the memorial service for the victims in the deadly quake.
In Yunnan's capital, Kunming, local residents also joined the mourning ceremony in a center square. 
87-year-old Bao Shiquan was one of them who came to the square early in the morning by wheel chair along with his son. 
"When hearing there was a mourning ceremony in the square, my father was very excited and asked me to bring him here. He has donated 500 yuan to the family of victims of the earthquake."
There were also students who study in Kunming but their home are near the quake zone.
"I hope people in Ludian County of Zhaotong could restore their lives as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, the survivors and rescuers have to fight against secondary disasters, including a quake-formed barrier lake which is still threatening local residents with flooding.
The barrier lake is located near the border of Ludian and Qiaojia counties, where most of the deaths occurred. 
It was formed when 12 million cubic meters of landslide rubble blocked the Niulan River, and has already flooded more than 370 homes.
Rescuers helped evacuate more than 8,100 local residents away from the river's reaches.
According to the Hydropower Troops of China's Armed Police, the arrival of heavy machinery has helped speed up the drainage of the lake water. The mahcinery can dig a deep canal through the barrier and cut the water level.
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE) SONG YUN, Hydropower Troops of China's Armed Police
"The blockages are mostly big rocks. Explosions have been set to blow them up, while heavy machinery is important for excavation."
After workers expanded a drainage tunnel belonging to a hydropower station located 600 meters upstream from the barrier lake, the water level of the lake has slowed down.
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE) TANG HONGJUN, Hydropower Troops of China's Armed Police
"Our rescue plan is to dig out a drainage tunnel that diverts part of the river's flow away from the lake."
In the past seven days of search and rescue work, it had been difficult to transport large machinery to the site. 
According to the provincial weather station, heavy rains are expected to pound the quake-hit area in the next three days, and geological disasters in upper reaches of the barrier lake are highly possible.

The chief weatherman of the station said downpours may further lift the water levels of the barrier lake and cause landslides and other secondary disasters in the lake area, hampering the draining efforts.