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200,000 California Residents In Oroville Are Displaced Due To Oroville Dam's Damaged Spillway

First Posted: Feb 16, 2017 10:16 PM EST
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Thousands Evacuated Near Oroville Dam As Spillway Threatens To Fail

Photo : Getty Images.Elijah Nouvelage

Almost 200,000 residents near the Oroville Dam were forced to evacuate their homes and have to stay indefinitely to distant locations to avoid the impending danger of a spill off. This has been the case of the United States' tallest dam when parts of it have eroded due to a damaged spillway.

Engineers were urgent enough to respond on Tuesday and have been working nonstop to repair the damages; as per National Weather Service, rain will pour as early as Wednesday up to Sunday. In a recent report from Yahoo News, families have already built their tents or have slept on their cars at Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, 25 miles far from Oroville where the damaged dam is.

The California Department of Water Resources has channeled out an emergency overflow with the help of helicopters and heavy construction equipment to facilitate the work. The primary spillway was also damaged but it is still functional, however, the possibilities of the emergency spillway's failure are a main concern of the engineers, as rains had been pouring for the past weeks.

This has been the first of the dam's 50-year history that water has reached the backup spillway considering that it has a solid top. Thus it will endanger the towns beneath it by releasing a wall of water of about three stories tall, NDTV reports. The Oroville Dam is 40 feet taller than the Hoover Dam which was built around 1962 and 1968; it stands 770 meters high, at the east of Oroville.

California Governor Jerry Brown has already written a letter to President Donald Trump for him to declare a state of emergency, which will speed up federal assistance to the affected communities. Officials are not yet sure when they will allow residents to go back to their homes since the status of the dam is still uncertain. Meanwhile, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has already assured that the government will extend its efforts to help and to uphold its promise to "overhaul its infrastructure".

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