Chinese Communities Overrun By Two Billion Mice
Beijing, China
09 July 2007 05:09
People living in communities surrounding a large shallow lake in China have been overrun by field mice after flood waters drove the rodents out of islands on the lake, state media reported on Monday.

The mouse invasion began on June 23 when the Yangtze River flooded, raising the water level in central China's Dongting Lake and submerging mouse holes on lake islands, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Now, an estimated two billion mice are ravaging crops in 22 counties around the lake, and authorities are rushing to construct walls and ditches to keep the rodents out. Residents have killed more than 2,3-million field mice -- or 90 tonnes of the rodents, Xinhua said.

In Hunan province's Yiyang county, a ditch along the lake shore was filled with mice. Residents were using clubs and shovels to beat them to death, while others scooped the furry animals out using fishing nets.

Mice have already damaged dikes and ruined crops in areas where authorities were slow to build walls and ditches, Xinhua said.

The rodent problem is expected to worsen as more floods are forecast for the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and Dongting Lake. -- Sapa-AP

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