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More than 60 missing in latest China mudslides

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 18, 2010
More than 60 people went missing after torrents of mud slammed into homes in southwest China Wednesday as they slept, in the nation's latest disaster as it battles its worst flooding in a decade.

Power and communication lines were cut to Puladi township in Yunnan province, where the mudslides struck in the early hours, a provincial government official said.

Rescuers have been sent to the remote and mountainous area on the border with Myanmar to search for the 67 missing people, the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

"I suddenly heard rumbling late last night and then rushed to a safe place with fellow villagers -- I hadn't expected mudslides could come so quickly," Yu Zhizhong, a survivor, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

The disaster had also left 38 people injured -- 10 of whom were seriously hurt, Xinhua said. Most of the missing were villagers and employees at a mine.

The mudslides blocked roads and destroyed a bridge, the civil affairs ministry said on its website.

A large amount of debris was washed into the Nu River, where the water level rose by up to six metres (20 feet).

At least 10 trucks carrying iron ore and 21 houses were buried by the mudslides -- the second time they have hit Puladi in less than two months. A landslide in June killed 11 people at a construction site.

The latest mudslides come 10 days after at least 1,287 people were killed in devastating mudslides in the northwestern province of Gansu, which virtually split the remote town of Zhouqu in two.

Nearly 460 people are still missing in the town, where rescuers are battling to get much-needed aid supplies to residents and prevent an outbreak of water-borne disease.

An official at the rescue headquarters in Gannan prefecture, where Zhouqu is located, told AFP some main roads in the town that had previously been drenched with mud and water had now been cleaned up, easing the passage of supplies.

Local weather authorities have warned that Zhouqu will experience heavy rain until at least Saturday, further complicating relief efforts and putting residents at risk.

Elsewhere in Gansu, recent floods and landslides have killed at least 36 people in the city of Longnan, close to Zhouqu, Xinhua said. More than 122,000 residents in Longnan have been evacuated following heavy rain last week.

Another 15 people have been killed in landslides in an area of the southwestern province of Sichuan that is only just recovering from a massive earthquake in 2008 which left nearly 87,000 dead or missing.

The mudslides in Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan are the latest in a string of weather-related disasters across China in a summer of heavy rains that have triggered the country's worst flooding in a decade.

More than 2,100 people have so far been left dead or missing and 12 million evacuated nationwide, not including the toll from the Zhouqu incident, according to government figures.




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SHAKE AND BLOW
More than 60 missing in latest China mudslides
Beijing (AFP) Aug 18, 2010
More than 60 people went missing after torrents of mud slammed into homes in southwest China Wednesday, blocking roads in the nation's latest disaster as it battles its worst flooding in a decade. Power lines and telecoms have been cut to Puladi township in Yunnan province, where the mudslides struck in the early hours of Wednesday as people were sleeping, a provincial government official sa ... read more

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