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Mudslide relief updates, prayers shared on China's micro-blogs

08-11-2010 09:15 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- "Flood. Blackout. People from the building all gathering by candlelight."

Four hours after mudslides engulfed Zhouqu County in northwest China's Gansu Province at midnight Saturday, 19-year-old Kayne sent that tweet from his cell phone.

He posted another at 9 a.m. Sunday - "My family has been evacuated to a safe location."

With messages and pictures from the scene, Kayne continues to update his micro-blog on t.sina.com.cn, a popular Chinese alternative to Twitter.

His last tweet at 12:47 p.m. Tuesday was a picture of a disinfectant bottle to tell his readers that water in the mudslide-hit region must be disinfected.

A large number of Internet users followed Kayne's live broadcast from Zhouqu on his micro-blog, and his followers rocketed to thousands overnight.

"I am fond of Twittering. When the mudslides suddenly came, I was hoping people outside could know what had happened and help us," Kayne, a college student from Zhouqu, said.

At least 337 people are dead and 1,148 missing after the rain-triggered mudslide slammed the county.

More than 7,000 troops are battling through sludge and rubble in a round-the-clock operation to find survivors.

After suffering a series of devastating disasters in recent years, including earthquakes in Sichuan and Yushu, some Chinese Internet users like Kayne are sending out messages from the disaster scene as soon as possible to inform people and seek help.

Others used the micro-blogs and online forums to express their concern about their families or friends in Zhouqu. Netizen "scenery in my memory" posted a message Monday on the popular Tianya website to help in his search for his missing father.

"My dad is visiting relatives in Zhouqu. I have managed to contact other people but his cell phone is out. My mom is very worried!" said the message.

Meanwhile, other Internet users kept a close eye on the progress of the disaster relief work and shared their concerns on micro-blogs and social networking websites.

"I live in neighboring Shaanxi Province and I feel so sorry for the victims in Zhouqu. I hope more people are rescued," said a micro-blogger on t.sina.com.cn.

"Zhouqu mudslides" quickly became the No.1 topic on t.sina.com.cn while related tweets exceeded 165,000 as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, most of which were words of prayers and encouragement.

Some micro-bloggers reflected on the underlying causes of the mudslides in Zhouqu, urging a better early-warning system for natural disasters and the full-scale implementation of forest planting.

"Geographical monitoring of mudslide-prone areas must be strengthened. But still, the fundamental solution is afforestation," said netizen "yargus."

Some netizens revealed on their micro-blogs their families or friends were participating in the rescue work. A netizen from Shandong Province tweeted a short letter to her husband.

"Come on hubby! Save as many lives as you can. Waiting for you at home with our son!" it read.

On Monday, a 74-year-old woman was rescued 34 hours after the mudslides. A 52-year-old Tibetan was pulled alive from the debris of a toppled apartment building on Tuesday.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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