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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 05:48 GMT
Deadly landslide near China dam
China's Three Gorges Dam
The dam is meant to alleviate flooding and generate electricity
A landslide has killed one worker and left two missing near China's Three Gorges dam, state media has reported.

The accident happened in Badong County, a hilly area next to the dam's 660km (410 mile) reservoir, where the group were working on a railway tunnel.

The cause of the accident was not known, Xinhua said, but it comes amid growing warnings the dam is threatening its surrounding environment.

Experts have warned of an increased risk of landslides around the dam.

The Three Gorges dam is the world's largest hydro-electric project.

It crosses China's biggest river, the Yangtze, and is due to be completed by the end of 2008.

'Long way to go'

The landslide happened on Tuesday morning. Earth and rocks engulfed four men and severed a nearby road, Xinhua said. One of the men was later rescued.

The area had suffered from heavy rain in recent days, the agency said.

Residents told Reuters news agency that the area had seen more tremors and landslides as water levels in the reservoir rose and put pressure on surrounding slopes.

Last month, state media announced that at least four million people were to be moved from the area around the dam amid warnings of an "environmental catastrophe".

Problems included an increased risk of landslides caused by erosion on the steep hills around the reservoir and increasingly polluted water supplies.

On Tuesday, the Three Gorges Project Committee announced new measures to protect the area.

These included greater protection of the water supply and efforts to prevent towns and businesses dumping pollutants into the reservoir.

But in a statement, the committee said that there was "a long way to go" to solve the environmental issues posed by the dam.

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