Four dead after floods hit NW China's fiery desert-oasis basin

16:20, June 21, 2011      

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A man walks by a flooded tourist site at the scenic spot of Grape valley in Turpan, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, June 20, 2011. The scenic spot of Grape valley in Turpan was hit by floods on Monday, causing a temporary shutdown of the area. (Xinhua/Jiang Xiaoming)

Rescuers in northwest China on Tuesday recovered the bodies of four people who were swept away in their trucks by flash floods amid days of heavy rain that drenched parts of a desert-oasis basin known for its unbearably hot and dry weather.

Authorities in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday said the bodies were found after more than 100 police searched for 25 hours in an inundated area in the county of Toksun, Turpan Prefecture.

Three trucks were swept away by flash floods in Toksun last Sunday. Only three out of the seven people managed to escape from the vehicles.

Torrential rains have battered the otherwise dry and hot Turpan Basin for days, destroying parts of the popular tourist attraction raisin valley. About 50 tourists were trapped at one point, local disaster relief officials said.

Mud flows were reported in some villages. Pictures on the Internet show electric poles and trees toppled, and quilts, pillows and kitchenware scattered on the ground. The wall of a school dinning hall cracked under the pressure of a meter-high pool of mud that had accumulated.

Turpan Basin is prone to mud flows because the earth is especially dry due to desert weather. Annual rainfall in Turpan is only 15 millimeters, compared to the annual evaporation of over 3,000 millimeters.

Source: Xinhua
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