Chinese soldiers use their bodies to stop furious floodwaters from entering a city

Thousands of people in Jiujiang, south-east China's Jiangxi Province, were almost forced from their homes when a dam in a river leading out from Boyang Lake towards the city broke Tuesday.

With the help of sandbags, a total of 16 soldiers stood in chest-high flood for as long as six hours to protect residents and buildings behind them, reports Daily Mail.

Water levels in Boyang Lake, which lies along the Yangtze basin, have been at dangerously high levels in recent days due to an annual bout of torrential rain.

At 10am Tuesday, a 13-foot break formed in the Dongfenglian Levee in Jiujiang, with waters raging into the rice paddies in the area.

Almost 100 soldiers from the PLA rushed to help, with the deputy brigade chief Lin Zhen-ming jumping into the chest-high waters to assess the situation.

After Lin surveyed the damage and conceived of a repair plan, 16 soldiers jumped into the river after him without a second thought. 

They used their bodies to form a human dam, providing a crucial hand to the soldiers who were pile-driving on the bank.

The soldiers stood their ground in the rushing waters for close to six hours while their fellow soldiers continued to pile sandbags on the dam in an effort to repair it. 

By 7pm, the break had been sealed.

'The soldiers are here, so my paddies are safe,' a touched farmer told local media. He had several acres of rice paddies near the break that would have been destroyed had it not been for the soldiers and their bravery.

And this farmer was not the only person who had the soldiers to thank; their courageous act helped prevent damages to 5,000 acres of crops and flooding for 6,000 residents in two villages further downstream, according to iFeng.

The almost three mile-long Dongfenglian Levee is one of the most important levees in Jiujiang, an area along the Yangtze basin which, with Boyang Lake, is seeing extremely high water levels due to an annual torrential rain season.

Flooding along the Yangtze basin since March has affected more than 49 million people, with 222 dead or missing as of Sunday, according to official figures.

Officials say 60 per cent of the damage, which includes the collapse of more than 110,000 houses, occurred in the first 10 days of July alone, adding that the flooding has also caused financial losses of more than £11 billion (103 billion RMB).

The amount of rain in the Yangtze basin doubled in June compared to the same period last year, according to official statistics. 

Pressure is continuing to mount on flood control as officials forecast extremely heavy torrential rains and subsequent flooding from the remainder of July to early August based on patterns projected from previous years.

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