China faces more rain as flood deaths rise to 1,117

Heavy rains lashed remote north-western China yesterday as the death toll from weekend flooding that triggered massive landslides jumped to 1,117.

Local officials said at least 627 people were still missing.

The National Meteorological Centre warned there was a "relatively large" chance of more landslides in the coming days, as heavier rain was expected, with up to 3.5 inches forecast for tomorrow.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Troops and rescue teams, joined by traumatised survivors, were increasingly turning to recovering bodies and seeing to the needs of the living. Clean drinking water was a primary concern, with most local sources destroyed or too polluted to use.

Entire communities in Gansu province's Zhouqu district were swallowed when the debris-choked Bailong River burst its banks early on Sunday, releasing wave after wave of mud and rubble-strewn water.

While torrential rains were the direct cause, tree cutting that left the dry hills exposed, a rapid expansion of hydro power development and the weakening of cliff faces by a massive 2008 earthquake were seen as contributing factors.

Buildings were torn from their foundations, their lower floors blown out by the force of the debris-laden water.

Three villages comprising hundreds of households were entirely buried.

The search and rescue mission in the area has allowed Beijing to showcase its formidable ability to mobilise against natural disasters, including earthquakes and flooding, which have struck China repeatedly in recent years.

More than 10,000 police, troops and firefighters have been sent to the area to aid with the rescue efforts and Premier Wen Jiabao has visited Zhouqu.

Related topics: