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Flood Threatens China Earthquake Survivors


Chinese soldiers are working to explode earthquake debris blocking a river, where rapidly rising waters are threatening to flood survivors from a massive earthquake earlier this month. Meanwhile, the death toll from the disaster in southwestern Sichuan Province continues to rise. The latest official figures are more than 65,000 people dead. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

Quake survivors in China are now being threatened by what Premier Wen Jiabao has called "secondary disasters."

These threats include flooding, from dozens of new lakes in Sichuan created by obstructed rivers clogged by landslides and other quake rubble.

Eighteen hundred soldiers arrived at the newly created Tangjiashan lake, in Beichuan county. Each soldier carried 10 kilograms of explosives to blast through the debris, in an effort to draw off some of the excess water.

State television showed images of a helicopter carrying an earthmover into the area.

On the sidelines of quake relief efforts, rivals China and Taiwan are working to build better relations.

Wu Poh-hsiung, the chairman of Taiwan's ruling KMT Party, arrived Monday in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. He says he knows people in China are busy these days with earthquake relief operations.

But he says that for Chinese leader Hu Jintao to invite him to China at a time like this shows what he called the "extraordinary importance" both sides put in cross-Straits relations.

Chen Yunlin, the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, thanked the Taiwanese people for their help with earthquake relief efforts.

He says Taiwanese generosity shows that blood is thicker than water. He says the brotherly affection has set up a new bridge over the Taiwan Straits.

Taiwan's ruling KMT party fled to the island in 1949, after losing a civil war to the Chinese Communists. Beijing considers the separately governed island part of Chinese territory and has vowed to use force, if necessary, to prevent Taiwan from becoming independent.

Back in the disaster zone, many of the quake victims were children, who were killed when their schools completely collapsed.

Family planning officials in Sichuan's capital, Chengdu, Monday, announced an exception to the country's strict one child policy. The new announcement says families in some of the hardest hit communities, whose child was killed, severely injured or disabled in the quake, can get a certificate to have another child.

China launched its one child policy in the 1970's, in an effort to control its exploding population. The law limits couples to having one child, but includes certain exceptions for ethnic groups, rural families and families where both parents are only children.

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