The first sign was just a crack in the terraced earth, about four inches wide and 35 feet long, villagers said. But engineers found that the crevasse betrayed the danger of a massive landslide. They judged the risk so great that most of Miaohe's 250 farmers were temporarily evacuated. Fearing the hillside would never be safe again, the government started constructing a replacement village on a nearby plateau, blasted out of rock for increased stability.
"This is going to be good," said Han Qinbi, 60, a grizzled peasant who pointed at the spacious new house he and his family will be moving into next summer.
But what Han saw as good fortune was a bad omen for the Chinese government. In the 18 months since the Three Gorges Dam was completed, increasingly clear signs of environmental degradation have started to accumulate along the Yangtze, just as activists had warned. Among the most troubling have been incidents of geological instability in the soaring gorges that now embrace a reservoir stretching behind the dam across a good portion of Hubei province 600 miles southwest of Beijing.
"To begin, begin." - William Wordsworth. w_a_r_m_i_n_g It's a start. For a change.
Thinking about Nature and Economics - And ACTING.
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