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Rescuers search for life, race to avert floods in mudslide-flattened China county

08-09-2010 14:18 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

ZHOUQU, Gansu, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers are racing against time in the search for survivors in a mudslide-flattened northwest China county and to demolish a dam of debris to prevent further devastation from flood waters.

Personnel from the Lanzhou Area Command of the People's Liberation Army used explosives to blast a blockage in the Bailong River at 8:18 a.m., a spokesman with the emergency rescue headquarters said.

Armed police officers were then able to demolish the barrier with excavators, allowing water from a lake in Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, to drain at 95 cubic meters per second, he said.

More explosions were carried out at 9:34 a.m. and at 10:20 a.m..

A massive mudslide swept through county early Sunday, killing at least 127 people and injuring 88.

An estimated 1,294 people are missing.

Torrential rain late Sunday night sent massive waves and an avalanche of sludge and debris crashing down on the county, ripping houses from their foundations and tearing six-story apartment buildings in half.

About 1.8 million cubic meters of mud and debris flattened three villages that covered around 2.5 million square meters, about a third of the county.

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