Death toll from SW China mudslides rises to 23; 69 still missing

10:53, August 22, 2010      

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  Rescuers cover the body of a victim with cloth in mudslide-hit Puladi Township of Gongshan Drung-Nu Autonomous County, southwest China's Yunnan Province, on the fourth day of the rescuing Aug. 21, 2010. Hampered by the mountain terrain and persistent rainfall, the rescue efforts had been progressing slowly.

  (Xinhua/Lin Yiguang)

  The death toll from mudslides in a remote mountain village in southwest China's Yunnan Province has risen to 23, as 69 others remain missing as of 6:14 p.m. Saturday, said local authorities.

  "The chances of survival for the missing people are slim as the mudslides occurred more than 72 hours ago," Hou Xinrong, director of the public security bureau in Gongshan County, where the disaster happened, told Xinhua Saturday.

  As rescue work continued into the fourth day, rescuers found 11 bodies Saturday, two of which were recovered from the mudslide debris and nine from a nearby river.

  Persistent heavy rainfalls and bad road conditions hampered the rescue work, as excavators could not be transported to the site.

  "Though the situation is tough, we will spare no effort to search for the missing villagers," said Hou.

  Families of the dead and missing villagers have received 10,000 yuan (around 1,473 U.S. dollars) for each victim from the local government, a spokesman with the county' s civil affairs bureau said Saturday.

  The fatal mudslides struck Puladi Township in Gongshan with 600,000 cubic meters of mud and rocks at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

  Separately, in northeast China's Liaoning Province, four people are dead, one is missing and more than 64,000 others were forced to evacuate their homes Saturday after the swollen Yalu River, which marks the border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), flooded Dandong City, the city government said.

  China has suffered from a string of rain-triggered disasters recently as the country battles its worst floods in at least a decade.

  In the northwestern province of Gansu, at least 1,434 people were killed and another 331 are reported missing after mudslides hit Zhouqu County nearly two weeks ago.

  Earlier this week, rain-triggered mudslides killed 18 people and injured nine others, and four remain missing in Wenchuan and Qingchuan counties in southwest China's Sichuan Province, which was devastated by the 2008 earthquake.


Source: Xinhua

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