ANXIAN, China China grappled with backed-up rivers and reservoirs in danger of collapse, along with looming storms that threatened Monday to compound damage from the country's worst earthquake in three decades.
Two weeks after the magnitude 7.9 earthquake centered in Sichuan province, the confirmed death toll rose to 65,080 with 23,150 people still missing, the Cabinet said. The government has said the final number of dead is expected to exceed 80,000.
Many of the disaster victims were children, prompting officials to clarify the country's strict one-child policy guidelines.
The Chengdu Population and Family Planning Committee in the capital of Sichuan province said Monday that families whose children was killed, severely injured or disabled in the quake can get a certificate to have another child.
Chen Xueyun's 8-year-old son, Weixi, was killed when the family's apartment in Qingchuan collapsed. Chen said he searched three days before finding the boy's body. He wears his son's blue plastic watch as a reminder.
Monday's announcement could offer some parents some hope, Chen said, after their grief subsides.
"If they are still sad and depressed, it's impossible to talk about another baby," he said. "But in the future, it could be quite helpful for them."
On Monday, 1,800 soldiers arrived on foot at the new Tangjiashan lake in Beichuan county to fight the flood risk, each carrying 22 pounds of explosives to blast through the debris, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The lake is 2 miles upstream from the center of Beichuan county. Thousands of people who remained there after the initial earthquake have been evacuated in recent days as a precaution.
With weather clearing that had prevented helicopter flights, heavy equipment was also lifted in the area to help remove debris, state media reported.
But thunderstorms were forecast for parts of Sichuan later Monday and Tuesday, the China Meteorological Administration said, adding they "could increase the risks posed by river blockages in some quake-hit areas."
The rains were likely to put more pressure on dams and reservoirs weakened by the quake. The storms herald the start of the summer rainy season that accounts for more than 70 percent of the 2 feet of rain that falls on the area each year.
The backed-up lake is one of several dozen in Sichuan.
In An country, about 30 miles to the south of Beichuan, a landslide blocked the Chaping river, submerging Shuangdian village.
Residents say the lake has been rising by about 7 1/2 feet a day.
"The water was covering the road, and two days later I could not see the roof of my house anymore," said Liu Zhongfu, 31, a truck driver who built his two-story wooden house himself, standing on a mountain overlooking the new lake. A sofa and bits of wood that were once part of houses could be seen floating among the debris in the milky green water.
Liu was working away from home when the earthquake hit. His wife, 3-month-old daughter and 60-year-old mother all were unhurt.
"I thought I could go back but I have nothing now. My village, it's all become a sea," he said.
Water there was backed up 2 miles along the river, said Wang Li, county Communist Party secretary.
"We need to take care of this soon, this is a serious situation," he said.
Elsewhere, 600 people were voluntarily evacuated from Guanzhuang in Qingchuan county because of landslide worries.
"There's no danger for this exact moment from flooding but we are very worried because the whole mountain is loose," said Ma Jian, a local official.
Problems with dams and reservoirs from the earthquake and its aftershocks also have been reported in other provinces.
The Water Resources Ministry said Monday that three small reservoirs in Shaanxi province, just north of Sichuan, were in danger of collapse after the strong aftershock Sunday. A total 2,383 reservoirs were in danger across the country, the ministry said.
China's top Communist Party leaders said relief efforts should now focus more on resettlement and post-quake reconstruction, but that work to find survivors should not stop.
The shift was announced at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee presided over by President Hu Jintao, Xinhua reported.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry said it would investigate whether flawed school construction contributed to collapses.
"We will punish those who cut corners during school building construction and will have zero tolerance for corruption and shoddy school projects," spokesman Wang Xuming said in Beijing.
In Mianzhu city, the Communist Party secretary pleaded with protesting parents whose children were killed in a school collapse not to complain to higher authorities, the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper reported Monday.
Despite Jiang Guohua's pleas, the parents of the 127 children who died kept marching Sunday and eventually met with higher officials, who told them the government would investigate.
The march was the latest example of growing anger among Chinese about the quake, especially the fact that nearly 7,000 schoolrooms were destroyed while school was in session. Parents at several schools have held protests, defying the government's general disapproval of such demonstrations.
A photograph on the newspaper's Web site shows Jiang on his knees, his arms outstretched in vain.
"Please trust that the Mianzhu party committee can solve this problem," he begged the parents. "Don't go!"
But the parents marched on, carrying photos of their children.
"We have no more tears," one mother told the newspaper.
Also Monday, Xinhua reported that one of the two pandas still missing after the earthquake had been found.
The panda was recovered earlier in the day, but there were no immediate details given on its condition.The pandas had been missing from the famed Wolong panda reserve, located near the epicenter in central Sichuan province. The center suffered heavy damage from the quake and five staff members were killed.
Associated Press Writer Cara Anna in Beijing contributed to this report.