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China landslides claim more victims

New landslides have killed 24 people and left another 24 missing in China's remote north-west as downpours threatened more devastation and made rescue work difficult in a region where more than 1,100 people have died.

More rain was forecast for flood-ravaged Gansu province in the coming days - up to 3.5ins was expected on Friday, increasing the threat of more landslides along the Bailong River.

Tents set up as emergency shelters were flooded, and traumatised victims said the ongoing storms were a frightening reminder of the deluge that brought on last Sunday's disaster, in which three villages in Gansu's Zhouqu district were swallowed in waves of mud and rubble-strewn water.

Hundreds of homes were completely buried, and the death toll in the north-west flooding stood at 1,156.

The overnight deluge triggered new mudslides in Longnan city and Tianshui county, both close to Zhouqu, killing 24 and leaving 24 others missing, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The report said 10,556 people had been evacuated from Longnan but more than 3,000 were still stuck in the flood-hit area.

Meanwhile, mudslides also hit parts of south-west China's Sichuan province, killing five people and leaving 500 stranded in rural mountain areas in Mianzhu county, Xinhua said.

Xinhua said 588 people remain missing in Zhouqu, with the last reported rescues made on Wednesday. That latest downpours made rescue work nearly impossible on Friday.

Residents said they could hear cries for help coming from collapsed buildings overnight and dozens of soldiers were sent to search, army officer Zhang Guiquan told Xinhua.

"We will seize every chance to find survivors, but it is also important to ensure the safety of rescuers," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph