702 dead, 1,042 missing in China mudslides | world | Hindustan Times
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702 dead, 1,042 missing in China mudslides

world Updated: Aug 10, 2010 17:20 IST

At least 702 people were killed and 1,042 went missing in rain-triggered mudslides in northwest China's Gansu province, authorities said on Tuesday.

The death toll due to mudslides has reached 702, with 1,042 others still missing. Some 1,243 people have been rescued and 42 of them were found seriously injured, said Tian Baozhong, head of the provincial civil affairs department.

The mudslide hit Zhouqu County in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gannan early Sunday, Xinhua reported.

Some 4,443 tents have reached the affected area but most of them have not yet been set up due to lack of open space, Tian said.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) had dispatched 5,300 soldiers, 150 vehicles, four helicopters and 20 speed boats to Zhouqu, said Du Kangzhan, a publicity official at the PLA's Lanzhou Area Command.

DPA adds:

Soldiers and volunteers searched debris for survivors in Gansu's Zhouqu county, two days after floods carried mud and rubble down a mountain into the Bailong valley.

Rescuers pulled a 52-year-old man from a collapsed apartment building in the county town Tuesday morning, after he was trapped for more than 50 hours, state media said.

Health Ministry spokesman Deng Haihua said 21 medical teams with 363 members had travelled to Zhouqu to help injured people and ensure the safety of food and drinking water.

Local hospitals were treating 218 injured, while 41 seriously injured people were transferred to hospitals in the provincial capital of Lanzhou, earlier reports said.

The nine-member Standing Committee of the ruling Communist Party's Politburo on Tuesday urged officials and rescue workers to make "greater efforts to protect people's lives and property" in Zhouqu, the agency said.

It said the Standing Committee, which is led by President Hu Jintao, issued a statement calling on officials to use "more forceful measures and take advantage of every second to save those trapped by the mudslides".

Premier Wen Jiabao travelled to Zhouqu Sunday to oversee the rescue work.

Meanwhile, in the north-eastern province of Jilin rescuers were trying to reach 18 coal miners trapped underground by a flood early Tuesday.

Severe floods have hit Jilin over the past two months, leaving at least 85 people dead and 67 missing, and also affected neighbouring areas of North Korea.

Summer floods and landslides have hit many areas of China since April, killing more than 2,000 people with hundreds still listed as missing.