Tangjiashan Remains A Catastrophic Threat

Its all gone relatively quiet over the draining of Tangjiashan, the quake-created lake that is top of the list of those at risk of catastrophic bursting.

Sluicing was meant to have started last week following a well-publicized effort to cut a drainage channel. The latest aftershock, a 5.3 that occurred on Thursday and sent waves across the lake, reminds us that the draining has still to start.

The waters, swollen by heavy rains, are reported to have risen to within 2 meters of flooding over the banks. As of 2 pm Wednesday, Xinhua reported, the lake contained 211.6 million cubic feet of water. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited the area on Thursday, saying “Now it’s a critical moment for the Tangjiashan quake lake, and the most important thing is to ensure there is no casualty of the people.”

This Bystander’s sense is that the situation in on a knife-edge. More evacuations are underway of the million people at risk should he worst happen.

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