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Dim chances for survival for missing villagers after landslides in SW China

07-14-2010 16:40 BJT Special Report:Rainstorm Batters Large Parts of China |

XIAOHE, Yunnan, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers were working all-out Wednesday to rescue dozens of missing villagers following rain-triggered landslides in southwest China's Yunnan Province, even as authorities hold little hope of finding survivors.

Torrential rains battered Xiaohe Township, Qiaojia County, Zhaotong City, early Tuesday, causing flash floods and landslides that destroyed homes and swept away residents.

As of midday Wednesday, rescuers had retrieved 13 dead bodies and were still searching for 32 others, an official with the county government said. Forty-three others have been injured.

Fifteen homes were flattened in the disaster and at least 50 others were seriously damaged.

"There's little hope for the missing villagers to survive," said deputy county head Zhou Yingbin. "They were either washed away by flash floods or trapped in the debris -- under either circumstance they are unlikely to have survived."

Under the impact of the flash floods, a two-story brick building near the river moved at least 10 meters, its doors and windows destroyed. Villagers said three of its five inhabitants that were washed away have still not been found.

"It was one of the safest buildings in town," said villager Xie Shaoyou. "Nothing was left of my family's brick house, which was right there beside the building."

Along the flooded, muddy streets of Xiaohe Township Wednesday scattered pieces of furniture, refrigerators and washing machines were visible as an excavator cleared a river of rocks and debris.

Villager Xu Fangzhi had taken shelter in one of the few houses still standing at the end of Fumin Street.

"All other houses were flattened, and even their foundations were swept away," said Xu, whose grandmother, mother-in-law, aunt, cousin and niece are missing.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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