HARBIN, China — Rivers raging from weeks of rain engulfed parts of China's largest oil field Thursday and swamped farming villages outside a key industrial center.
Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians rushed sandbags to plug leaky dikes--already piled 6 feet high with the dirt-filled sacks--to keep the Songhua River from flooding Harbin, capital of northeast Heilongjiang province and home to 3 million.
On the north bank, opposite the city, the river swallowed dikes and covered fields, leaving village roofs poking through the waters. Families took shelter in trains parked on sidings atop raised rail beds.
Surging waters in the northeast have compounded the misery of China's worst flood season in more than 40 years. Water in much of the Yangtze River in central China has surpassed the emergency stage for three weeks or longer.