Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Macron Economics'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Macron-economics, the former banker turned minister

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The capital of sex, drugs, alcohol, trash and trashy tourism'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French government crisis: 'Krankreich' not Frankreich

Read more

DEBATE

Hollande's Last Chance: Can Weakened President Reform Without Left Flank? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Hollande's Last Chance: Can Weakened President Reform Without Left Flank?

Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde put under formal investigation in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: France’s new ministers

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • American 'Islamic State fighter' killed in Syria

    Read more

  • The ‘war’ at the heart of France’s ruling party

    Read more

  • Burger King to buy Canada's Tim Hortons for $11 billion

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

  • World’s ’most expensive’ apartment to go on sale in Monaco

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Death toll in northwest mudslides surpasses 1,000 people

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-11

Rescuers in north-west China continue to search for survivors as Chinese officials announced that last weekend’s massive mudslides had killed more than 1,100 people, with several hundred still missing.

AFP - Rescuers racing against a potential new deluge on Wednesday hurried to drain an unstable lake formed by China's worst mudslides in decades, as the death toll surged past 1,100.
   
More than 10,000 soldiers and rescuers combed through the mountains of mud that buried a remote area of the northwest province of Gansu at the weekend, killing 1,117 people by latest count and leaving more than 600 others missing.
   
But the window of survival was fast closing, with only one survivor found in a flooded hotel on Wednesday, so authorities have focused on averting further devastation in the form of new floods and possible disease outbreaks.
   
With days of heavy rains forecast from Wednesday -- sparked in part by Typhoon Dianmu, which ravaged South Korea -- troops were using excavators and explosives to clear debris blocking the Bailong river that runs through Zhouqu.
   
The rubble has created a lake that, if it were to burst, could bring further destruction to areas already levelled by the avalanche of sludge and rocks, though officials insisted the risk had been minimised.
   
"The danger of the barrier lake collapsing suddenly has been basically eliminated," the vice-minister of water resources, Jiao Yong, told a press conference in Beijing.
   
Provincial authorities have nevertheless evacuated areas near the lake, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
   
A continuous stream of rescuers trudged through the zone, bearing the dead on stretchers, an AFP correspondent witnessed early Wednesday. Carts of coffins were seen at the roadside.
   
At least a dozen bodies were laid out at a makeshift morgue in the heat, awaiting identification. Most were covered, but one was out in the open. The stench was overwhelming, causing some residents to gag and others to run past.
   
A rare piece of good news came when rescuers plucked a 50-year-old man from a flooded hotel in the barrier lake on Wednesday.
   
Hundreds of medical workers have been sent to the disaster zone along with experts in epidemic prevention amid fears of an outbreak of water-borne disease, but so far no such problems have been reported, a health ministry official said.
   
Loudspeakers in town broadcast messages instructing residents how to protect themselves from disease.
   
Tens of thousands of people were without adequate food and drinking water, as many roads leading to the area were damaged, leaving much-needed supplies stuck on trucks. Residents, on foot, carried goods in baskets on their backs.
   
"The amount of traffic is much higher than before, so all roads leading to Zhouqu are congested, which has negatively impacted the smooth progress of relief work," said Yang Yongzhong, head of the Gansu transport department.
   
One volunteer told AFP it was hard to find safe ground to erect tents.
   
The mudslides are the latest in a string of weather-related disasters, as China battles its worst flooding in a decade. More than 2,100 people were left dead or missing and 12 million evacuated before the Gansu tragedy.
   
The mudslides levelled an area five kilometres (three miles) long and 300 metres wide, Xinhua said. Floodwaters up to three storeys high have submerged half the county, where one-third of the population is Tibetan.
   
The landslides swept homes, cars and debris into the Bailong, choking off the waterway and triggering flooding in the mountainous area.
   
In Zhouqu town, workers tried to clear streets buried in thick mud and debris from more than 300 destroyed homes, but some residents wailed, hoping the bodies of their loved ones could still be found for burial.
   
"It's hard to stop searching and let them down," Ren Tianwen, commander of hundreds of armed police in the zone, told Xinhua.
   
Officials defended their efforts to warn residents of impending natural disasters, saying Zhouqu was particularly susceptible.
   
"The area has been one of the key regions monitored by the local government," Guan Fengjun, a senior water resources ministry official, told a press conference in Beijing.
   

 

Date created : 2010-08-10

  • CHINA

    Landslides death toll mounts to more than 300

    Read more

  • CHINA

    Death toll from worst floods in ten years tops 700

    Read more

  • CHINA

    Thousands evacuated from southern China after deadly landslides

    Read more

COMMENT(S)