China prepares for more floods as summer rains persist, 3 Gorges Dam reservoir may rise again

BEIJING (AP) — Troops sandbagged swollen rivers Monday and storm-battered regions across China prepared for more floods and potential landslides as forecasters predicted torrential rains this week.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of soldiers using sandbags to patch up breached riverbanks ahead of heavy rains that were expected to continue in the southwest, southeast and northeastern parts of the country, the National Meteorological Center said.

Rainfall along the Yangtze River basin threatened to increase water levels in the reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam to new record highs, after levels had begun slowly dropping over the weekend, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Four people died and 16 were missing in the southwestern province of Sichuan, where rains flooded farm fields and triggered landslides over the weekend, Xinhua reported.

CCTV showed homes buried by mud and debris as rock slides blocked roads and damaged cars passing through. In Nanchong city in northeastern Sichuan, portions of the Jialing River were breached after a storm on Sunday, flooding roads under nearly 6 1/2 feet (2 meters) of water.

Thousands of troops have fanned out in flooded communities across China to make repairs and help move residents to safety. In northern China's Shaanxi province, 700,000 people have been moved to safety this month, and soldiers on Sunday used stones and sandbags to fill a breach in the Luofu River.

Though China experiences heavy rains every summer, flooding this year is the worst in more than a decade. Floods this year have left 741 people dead with 367 still missing, the highest death toll since 1998.