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Saturday, August 22, 1998 Published at 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

China blames human exploitation for floods

The authorities in China have admitted for the first time that excessive exploitation of natural resources could be a major reason for the devastating floods this year.

The official media China Daily and the Xinhua news agency said that serious soil erosion caused by tree felling and other activities had silted up areas which usually acted as overflows for excessive rain.

The articles appeared as efforts continued in north-eastern China to hold back flood waters around the city of Harbin.

Hundreds of thousands of troops and civilians are working to protect embankments along the Songhua river, where water levels are at the highest level ever recorded.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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