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Threat of landslides on Yangtze recedes

A BAN on night navigation has been lifted on a section of the Yangtze River at risk from massive landslides yesterday.

An official said the decision was made because they believed the threat in Yunyang County, Chongqing Municipality, was not so dangerous at the moment as the area had not experienced heavy rainfall.

The Three Gorges reservoir about 300 kilometers downstream maintained the water level at about 160 meters, which helped reduce the erosion of the river bank, the official added. However, the Administration of Navigational Affairs said the ban might be reintroduced in the event of heavy rain.

Shipping movements at night were suspended on Sunday after soil erosion worsened.

Nearly 10,000 vessels pass through this section of the river each year ?? about 300 vessels carrying 23,000 passengers every day.

Part of the river's south bank in Yunyang broke loose in November. Officials say the soil in the landslide-prone area is estimated to be 3.6 million cubic meters, 1 million cubic meters of which was at risk of falling into the river.

Experts from the Ministry of Land and Resources said this could have caused waves of 5-10 meters high in a 3-5 kilometer area.

Sun Yimin, deputy tourism chief of Chongqing, said travel to the Three Gorges was still safe at present.


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