Island shared by China and Russia may be submerged

An island shared by China and Russia may get submerged in the next 10 days due to continuous downpours and water discharges from a reservoir along their border, officials said.

Updated: Aug 07, 2013, 18:22 PM IST

Beijing: An island shared by China and Russia may get submerged in the next 10 days due to continuous downpours and water discharges from a reservoir along their border, officials said.

The water level around Heixiazi Island is expected to submerge the whole land mass of 335-square-km, which has an average altitude of 37 meters above sea level, an official from the flood control and drought relief headquarters in northeast China`s Heilongjiang Province said.

China and Russia ended a century-long dispute over the island in 2008, known as Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island in Russia, and held a border redrawing ceremony declaring each side owned half of the landmass, which is located at the confluence of the Heilongjiang River, known as the Amur River in Russia, and the Ussuri River.

Heavy rain has hit the area since July, leaving floodwater from tributaries to flow into the Heilongjiang River, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

A reservoir along the Zeya River in Russian territory, a major tributary of the Heilongjiang River, has discharged floodwater, said the official.

Meanwhile, thanks to the unusually high water levels, Jiamusi Port along the Songhuajiang River, also a tributary of the Heilongjiang River, has become accessible to ships carrying much bigger loads than ever before.

A Russian ship loaded with 3,000 tonnes of timber was able to reach the port today morning, said Xu Yanchun, of Jiamusi City`s marine affairs bureau. Previously, such timber loads had to be distributed among smaller ships of 600 tonnes capacity due to the lower water levels.
PTI