Rain-triggered landslide leaves 18 dead, 2 injured in Shaanxi

15:40, July 06, 2011      

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Rescuers work at the site of a landslide in Lueyang County of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, in the wee hours of July 6, 2011. Eighteen people were killed after a rain-triggered landslide engulfed eight houses in Lueyang on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Li Yibo)

Eighteen people were confirmed dead and four others injured in a rain-triggered landslide that lashed Lueyang County in northwestern Shaanxi Province Tuesday, local authorities said Wednesday.

Torrential rain hit Lueyang County from 3 a.m. to midday Tuesday, triggering a 5,000-cubic-meter landslide that engulfed a two-story building in the county seat at 11:15 a.m., the government of Hanzhong city said in a statement.

The local government sent more than 400 people to the site for rescue operations.

Rescuers reached 22 people, but 17 were already dead, and one died after treatment failed. Four others were injured and are hospitalized.

Also in Lueyang, an 80-year-old villager, Sun Guiying, remain missing after she was swept away while crossing a torrential river Tuesday.

As of midnight Wednesday, the downpours that have also wreaked havoc in 10 other counties of Hanzhong City have affected 102,300 people and forced evacuation of nearly 5,000.

The Hanzhong government said the torrential rains had leveled 1,341 houses and damaged 5,442 more, and nearly 6,000 hectares of farmland were submerged.

Initial statistics indicate that the flooding has caused a direct economic loss of 160 million yuan (25 million U.S. dollars).

More heavy rains are expected to hit the southern part of Shaanxi over the next 24 hours, said the Shaanxi Meteorological Center.

From 9 a.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday, the eastern area of Hanzhong City is expected to receive precipitation of more than 50 mm, according to the meteorological center.

Flood control authorities in Shaanxi are on high alert and are evacuating people living in low-lying areas and places threatened by possible heavy rains and ensuing mountain torrents.

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