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Landslides, heavy rains ravage many parts of China

(Xinhua)

08:54, September 19, 2011

XI'AN, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people were killed and 22 others missing over the weekend in rain-triggered landslides in northwestern Shaanxi Province, local officials said.

As of 5:30 p.m. Sunday, rescuers had retrieved 10 bodies from beneath the rocks and mud in Baqiao District of the provincial capital of Xi'an, while another five were injured, said Zhu Zhisheng, vice mayor of Xi'an, who was at the site.

Another 22 people remained missing, Zhu said, adding the injured were hospitalized and in stable condition.

The landslide around 2 p.m. Saturday unleashed about 100,000 cubic meters of rock and mud down the mountain, engulfing a brick factory and destroying part of a nearby ceramics factory in the suburban district of Xi'an.

Rescuers found four bodies on Saturday night and six others were retrieved on Sunday.

More than 700 police, firefighters and local residents joined the rescue which went on Sunday night.

However, the rescue was hampered by three ensuing slides between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday as heavy rains continued slashing the city.

About 10,000 cubic meters of newly-triggered rock and mud roared down to the site, forcing rescuers to suspend searching temporarily.

Heavy downpours in the province also caused havoc in other areas.

A heavy rainfall on Saturday night triggered a landslide that buried a residential house in the suburban district of Jintai in Baoji City, some 175 km to the west of Xi'an.

Two people were dug out but later died after they were rushed to a nearby hospital, the municipal government of Baoji said in a statement Sunday.

The downpours also brought a landslide in the same district early Sunday morning. Three people were saved and sent to a local hospital, according to the statement.

The three wounded were in stable condition, doctors at the hospital said.

The province had been battered by torrential rains since Sept. 4. Before the weekend, 11 people had been killed in downpours and landslides, which also forced some 117,000 people to relocate, according to a statement from the provincial civil affairs department.

Southwest China's Sichuan Province has also doused in heavy rain since Friday, which left six people dead and two missing as of 3 p.m. Sunday, according to the provincial civil affairs department.

Nearly 200,000 people were relocated for fear of rain-triggered disasters, the department said.

The National Disaster Reduction Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have dispatched a working team to the affected areas and assist in the disaster relief.

In the latest development, a landslide Sunday noon in Sichuan's Bazhong City left nine more people missing and four slightly injured, according to the provincial flood control headquarters.

A total of 165 people from nearby households were relocated, including the four injured, the headquarters said.

In the coming three days, southern China will see more heavy rains and lower temperature with an approaching strong cold front, the National Meteorological Center said Sunday.

The biggest rainfall will surpass 250 millimeters in some areas of Sichuan Province, according to the center.

It also forecast heavy rains in the country's northern provinces of Shaanxi and Shanxi, and some of the southwestern and central provinces.

Continuous rainfall will increase risks of floods and related geologic hazard in those areas, the center said, urging local authorities to take preventive measures.

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