Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Survivor found as death toll rises

Rescuers and disaster victims travel through a flooded street in the town of Zhouqu

Heavy rains have lashed a remote section of north-western China as the death toll from weekend flooding that triggered massive landslides jumped to 1,117, but rescuers got a boost when a survivor was found in the debris.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency gave no immediate details on the survivor, found nearly four days after the disaster struck. Earlier, a 50-year-old man was rescued who had been trapped in knee-deep mud on the second floor of a hotel, Xinhua said.

Local officials were cited as saying at least 627 people were still missing.

The National Meteorological Centre warned that there was a "relatively large" chance of more landslides in the coming days, as heavier rain was expected, with up to 3 1/2 inches forecast for Friday.

Troops and rescue teams, joined by traumatised survivors, were increasingly turning to recovering bodies and seeing to the needs of the living. Clean drinking water was a primary concern, with most local sources destroyed or too polluted to use.

Entire communities in Gansu province's Zhouqu district were swallowed when the debris-choked Bailong River jumped its banks early on Sunday, releasing wave after wave of mud and rubble-strewn water.

While torrential rains were the direct cause, tree cutting that left the dry hills exposed and the weakening of cliff faces by a massive 2008 earthquake were seen as contributing factors.

Buildings were torn from their foundations, their lower floors blown out by the force of the debris-laden water. Three villages comprising hundreds of households were entirely buried and much of the county seat was submerged.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz