School term postponed for mudslide-flattened NW China county

16:23, August 14, 2010      

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The autumn term of primary and middle schools in Zhouqu County, which was leveled by China's deadliest mudslide over decades Sunday, will be postponed 10 days to Aug. 25, a spokesperson with the county education department said Saturday.

Usually, the term would begin on Aug. 15.

Because of a barrier lake formed by the mudslide, most of the county seat of Zhouqu in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China's Gansu Province, is still inundated.

Many schools were damaged, including Chengguan No.1 Primary School, which had all of its classrooms and teaching facilities destroyed, and Chengguan No. 2 Primary School, which is still under 2 meters of water.

It was difficult to provide goods and materials for boarding schools in the county, and textbooks at bookstores were severely damaged, the spokesperson said.

Schools that were undamaged had been designated shelters for survivors, he said.

In the early hours of Sunday, torrential rain prompted an avalanche of sludge and debris to crash down on Zhouqu County, ripping houses off their foundations and tearing six-story apartment buildings in half.

The death toll from the massive mudslide is at least 1,156 and an estimated 588 are missing.

More than 1,500 survivors are living in tents or school rooms while 8,300 have sought shelter with relatives and friends, according the officials of prefecture.

Source: Xinhua


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