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China Allocates $27 Million to Deal with Dangerous 'Quake Lakes'


China is focusing resources on swelling lakes formed during this month's devastating earthquake, evacuating tens of thousands of people and mobilizing millions of dollars to prevent massive flooding.

Heavy rains are expected in the coming days, raising concerns that a naturally formed dam in quake-struck Sichuan province could give way before workers are able to drain water from a huge lake.

Rescue workers have evacuated more than 150,000 people living below the lake.

China has allocated about $27 million to handle the so-called quake-lakes, which were formed when landslides blocked rivers following the massive May 12 earthquake.

China's official Xinhua news agency reports Wednesday that the Ministry of Finance will use money from the central budget to try to avert another disaster in Sichuan province.

Xinhua says the earthquake created 34 lakes, and that 28 of them could still rupture and flood.

China announced today the death toll from the earthquake has passed 68,000 people. Nearly 20,000 are missing.

Japanese media report today that China has asked Japan to send its military to help with rescue operations. If confirmed, it would be the first time Japan's military has been deployed to China since the end of World War II.

Chinese and Japanese officials have not commented on the reports.

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

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