Hundreds of military personnel and workers raced against time to rescue large number of people trapped under a mountain of mud and rocks triggered by landslides in China's Zhouqu County in which 127 people have been killed so far.
Heavy downpours yesterday triggered landslides and mud-rock flows in Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province.
The rescue headquarters in Zhouqu estimated that 1,294 people are missing. Earlier, the provincial civil affairs department put the figure at nearly 2,000. Another 117 were injured, including 29 in serious condition.
In addition, 1,242 have been rescued from debris or brought to safety from places such as tops of buildings, official Xinhua news agency reported.
About 45,000 people have been evacuated, according to a statement from the provincial civil affairs department.
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 early hours yesterday, Mao Shengwu, head of the prefecture, said.
Premier Wen Jiabao rushed to the place of disaster and visited the place.
China National Committee for Disaster Reduction, State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and Ministry of Civil Affairs have lifted national disaster relief response level to grade II, the second highest level.