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Death toll rises to 57 in NW China storms, 15 still missing

(Xinhua)

10:06, May 19, 2012

LANZHOU, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in northwest China have reported 57 deaths and 15 missing people as of Friday following hail and torrential rains that battered two mountainous counties in the region last week.

The government of Minxian county in Gansu province said the bodies of two more people have been found, raising the death toll to 47. Twelve of the county's residents remain missing and another 60 are receiving medical treatment at a local hospital.

Another 10 deaths were reported in Zhangxian county in Gansu, with three people still missing.

Last Thursday's storms and ensuing flash floods and landslides affected 358,000 people in Minxian, forcing the evacuation of about 30,000 local residents.

The disaster also caused direct economic losses of over 6.8 billion yuan (1.1 billion U.S. dollars) in Minxian.

Minxian, with a population of 450,000, is located 150 km from Zhouqu county, where a rain-triggered mudslide killed more than 1,500 people in August 2010.

In Minxian's neighboring Zhangxian county, the death toll from the rain-triggered disasters has risen to 10. Three of the county's residents are still missing.

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