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Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 17:18 UK

Fears of disaster after the quake

Many residents of Mianyang lost relatives and homes to the Chinese earthquake. But now they live in fear of another natural disaster: the threat of wide-scale flooding. The BBC's James Reynolds travelled to the central Chinese region to find a population on the move.

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Quake lakes threaten Sichuan survivors

In Mianyang, you grab whatever you can, and you head to higher ground.

On a muddy hilltop above the city, a policeman tells people to get moving and keep the road clear.

Every few minutes more people come up. One man walks up the hill carrying a kettle and an umbrella.

A woman behind him carries a shovel. Others carry clothes and blankets.

Thousands of people now live in this evacuation camp.

Some have set up stalls selling instant noodles - there's even a makeshift police station inside a huge green tent.

Everyone here survived the earthquake, and they don't want to get caught in a flood.

Running for their lives

From this hilltop camp they can all look down and see the city of Mianyang below them.

BBC Beijing correspondent James Reynolds
Throughout the day it's been difficult and sometimes pretty confusing to work out the exact scale of the evacuation
James Reynolds' China

The lakes formed by the earthquake are over the horizon.

"We've been up here for three days now," says Ms Shen, who came here with her husband and son.

"We have no idea whether or not the flood will come. We listen to the government.

"We didn't bring anything with us - except for a few clothes. We just ran for our lives. We don't know how long we'll be here for."

"We just moved up here this morning," says Chen Jin Ming, who is 65.

"My house is just down that slope there. I think more than 2,000 families in my neighbourhood have now moved up here.

"I'm worried about the flood, it would devastate us regular people. It would be much better if it didn't happen."

A grim search

The earthquake lakes are several hours drive away.

Earthquake survivors' tents in Mianyang

We reach one of the smaller ones on a road which has just been cleared by the military.

Boulders have fallen from the hillside and trapped a river. Water spills onto a road.

A group of people walks quietly past us. They wade through the water.

A man with grey hair is looking for his wife - his family have come along to help him.

They know that his wife was on a bus that was going down this bit of road when the earthquake happened.

They soon find the bus. And then they find her body.

"You don't deserve this," he says to her. He chokes with emotion.

They move her out of the water and onto the side of the road.

If the floods don't come, the family will return in a few days to bury her properly.


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