China orders evacuations after landslide blocks Tibet river

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<pChinese emergency services said Thursday that about 6,000 people were evacuated after a landslide in Tibet blocked the flow of one of the region's key rivers, creating a lake that could endanger downstream areas in India.

<pThe collapse Wednesday morning of a cliff in the deep valley through which the river flows created a dam-like barrier on the Yarlung Tsangpo, the headwater of India's Brahmaputra River, the local emergency response bureau said in a report carried by state media.

<pThe landslide struck near a village in Menling County and water in the lake had risen to a height of 40 meters (130 feet) by Thursday, the bureau said.

<pNo deaths or injuries were reported and the bureau said China has been keeping India updated on the blockage.

<pAuthorities in northeastern India issued an alert warning villagers in the East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, the state bordering China's Tibet region, not to venture near the river.

<pDistrict magistrate Tamiyo Tatak said water levels in the river had fallen drastically and once the blockage was cleared in China, water might suddenly rush downstream, causing a disaster in India.

<pIn June 2000, a sudden high discharge of water from the Yarlung Tsangbo caused extensive damage in Arunachal Pradesh and other downstream areas in India.

<pWith its towering peaks and glaciers, Tibet is the source of numerous Asian rivers, adding to China's strategic influence over its southern neighbors. Fast-rising temperatures have caused those glaciers to melt at an increasing pace, throwing a shadow over future water resources for China and other Asian nations.

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<pAssociated Press writer Wasbir Hussain in Gauhati, India, contributed to this report.