The largest flood crest in 17 years slammed into the industrial metropolis of Chongqing on Sunday, pushing water levels up 10 metres in 48 hours. A flood crest of such magnitude has not been seen since 1981, the China News Service said. It would take at least three days for water levels in Chongqing to drop below the warning level of 180 metres. At its peak, the Yangtze's water level at Chongqing was 184.45 metres. The convergence of several Yangtze tributaries heavily swollen by torrential rains in Sichuan province, combined with the fact that water levels in the main stream have not had the chance to recede fully after the last surge, has created a flood crest of enormous proportions. In preparation for two days of record-high water, authorities have ordered all people and movable property away from a 600km stretch of the Yangtze's upper reaches, the China Youth Daily said. Meanwhile, the State Council has sent an inspection team to Hunan province to carry out damage assessment and prepare for repair work. The group is headed by Land and Natural Resources Minister Zhou Yongkang. In Inner Mongolia, more than 10,000 families lost their homes and crops after nearly half of an 11,000-square-kilometre county was inundated. Thirty-five medical teams have been sent to Jalaid county to treat more than 25,000 farmers and herdsmen who have fallen ill, Xinhua said. The report did not say whether anyone in Jalaid had died because of the flooding. The Government of Inner Mongolia has raised 20 million yuan (HK$18.7 million) to provide its 260,000 flood victims with food and other necessities. In Heilongjiang, civilians and soldiers are working frantically to repair the Harbin-Manzhouli railway so rail traffic can be restored. China Daily said yesterday that 8.5 million people - a quarter of the province's population - had been affected by the floods. Agricultural losses were estimated at 14 billion yuan, the paper said, quoting figures from the provincial Civil Affairs Department.