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More than 150,000 Chinese Evacuate Area Endangered by 'Quake Lakes'

Chinese state media say more than 150,000 people in southwestern Sichuan province have evacuated a remote area below a lake formed by the powerful May 12 earthquake that devastated the region.

Reports Wednesday indicate that soldiers completed the evacuation of an additional 80,000 people late Tuesday.

More than 70,000 people already had been evacuated from areas of Beichuan county near a lake that formed when a quake-triggered landslide dammed a river.

Soldiers Tuesday used heavy equipment delivered by helicopter to dig a channel to drain water from the lake. However, heavy rains expected in the coming days, are raising fears that the naturally formed dam could give way.

An evacuation must be carried out before soldiers dynamite the banks of the new lake to release some of its water.

Chinese officials say that if the lake's barriers were to fully open, more than a million people would need to be evacuated. The lake is inaccessible by road and can only be reached by foot or by air.

Strong aftershocks in China's southwestern Sichuan and neighboring Shaanxi province on Tuesday toppled more than 420,000 houses.

An aftershock on Sunday killed at least eight people and destroyed about 70,000 homes.

The death toll from the May 12 quake is already at more than 67,000, and nearly 21,000 remain missing.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.