China landslide leaves over 80 dead

August 8, 2010 12:00 am

, BEIJING, Aug 8 – More than 80 people are dead and over 2,000 are missing after landslides triggered by heavy rain in northwestern China, state media said Sunday.

Hundreds of people are missing after landslides in a mainly Ticapitalfmnewn region of Gansu province late Saturday night, state television said.

A total of 20,000 people living in Zhouqu county have been evacuated, the report said.

At least 50,000 people have been affected by floods which have submerged half of Zhouqu county, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing Mao Shengwu, the head of the affected Gannan prefecture.

Authorities have deployed 2,400 soldiers and about 100 medical experts to help in search and rescue efforts, state television said.

The landslides swept mud and other debris into a river flowing through the county, blocking the waterway and triggering flooding, the government said.

Rescuers were searching for missing people, Xinhua said, without providing further details.

The torrential rain that started around 10pm (1400 GMT) Saturday had now stopped, reports said.

"The water of the Bailong River then flowed into the county seat and many people were trapped," a senior county official was quoted as saying.

"Now the sludge became the biggest problem to rescue operations. It\’s too thick to walk or drive through."

Some streets were covered with sludge as deep as one metre (three feet), Xinhua said.

Many houses were buried in the landslides which destroyed roads and bridges while telecommunications, water and electricity have been cut in parts of the region, reports said.

The number of people killed or missing in devastating floods across China this year has risen to more than 2,100, according to the government, as weather authorities warn of yet more rain to come.

The nation\’s civil affairs ministry said late Friday 1,454 people had died in floods this year, another 669 were still missing and more than 12 million had been evacuated from their homes.

Large swathes of China have been hit by summer deluges that have triggered the worst floods in a decade, caused countless deadly landslides and swollen many large rivers to dangerous levels.

According to the ministry, 1.4 million homes have been destroyed by the floods that have also caused 275 billion yuan (41 billion dollars) in direct economic losses.

The figures cover the entire year so far and it is unclear specifically how many people have died or gone missing in the summer floods.

China\’s northeast is the worst-hit area, with entire towns flooded and rivers bordering North Korea swollen to critical levels, prompting fears of deluges in both countries.

China\’s national meteorological centre said Saturday that large swathes of the nation would see rain in the next 24 hours, although it added the rainfall would be light in most areas.

But it warned that the northeast would once again be hit by torrential downpours from Sunday.



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