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At least 96 dead in rain-triggered landslides in NW China's Gansu Province

08-08-2010 15:21 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

ZHOUQU, Gansu, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- At least 96 people have been confirmed dead in landslides triggered by torrential rains in northwest China's Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, said local resuce headquarters.

As of noon, more than 680 residents had been rescued. And the water level in the county seat of Chengguan Township had declined by 40 cm, after floodwaters carrying mud and rocks submerged half the town in the small hours on Sunday, Mao said.

Screen grab taken on Aug. 8, 2010 shows the flooded city zone of Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Gansu Province. At least 65 people have been killed and hundreds of people are missing as of Sunday morning in rainstorm-triggered landslides which hit Zhouqu County.(Xinhua)
Screen grab taken on Aug. 8, 2010 shows the flooded city zone of Zhouqu County, Gannan
Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Gansu Province. At least 65 people
have been killed and hundreds of people are missing as of Sunday morning in 
rainstorm-triggered landslides which hit Zhouqu County.(Xinhua)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has left Beijing for Zhouqu County.

"Torrential rains began to fall at around 10 p.m. Saturday, then there were landslides and the county's power was cut," said Diemujiangteng, head of the county.

The Bailong River had overflowed and a large body of slow moving water engulfed Chengguan Township.

"Many people were trapped. Now sludge has become the biggest problem to rescue operations. It's too thick to walk or drive through," he said.

A Xinhua reporter learned that the county's communications were also down because the facilities had run out of electricity.

Yueyuan Village of Chengguan Township in the county has been buried. More than 120 homes in Chengguan Township and Jiangpan Village have been toppled, and some 300 residents in the two regions were still trapped, said a statement from the general office of the provincial committee of the Communist Party of China.

A primary school and some governmental offices in the county were damaged, said the statement.

Sludge as thick as two meters was spread across some major roads in the county. Many trapped residents were waiting for rescuers atop buildings, it said.

Our rescue team has saved 23 people and recovered 15 bodies, said He Youxin, an officer with the Gannan branch of the Gansu Headquarters of Chinese People's Armed Police Force.

"It's very hard to locate the people washed away by floods. It's hard to say what their chances of survival are," He said.

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