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127 Dead, 1,300 Missing in China Landslides

  • VOA News

Rescue teams in northwest China continued to search Monday for survivors of mudslides that have killed at least 127 people.

Officials now say 1,300 people are missing in an area of northwestern Gansu province, and rescuers are racing against the clock to find them. The area is largely populated by ethnic Tibetan herders and farmers.

The landslides were triggered by torrential rain that sent tons of mud and rock down steep and barren hills as residents were asleep Saturday night and early Sunday. At least one village was completely buried.

Premier Wen Jiabao traveled to Gansu on Sunday to tour the disaster area. Mr. Wen surveyed the damage in a helicopter and then joined rescue workers trying to free people trapped under buildings, mud and debris.

Authorities say the flooding of the Bailong River submerged half of Zhouqu County, and that about 45,000 people were evacuated.

More than 4,000 soldiers, police, firefighters and medics were deployed in the region by late Sunday. They brought tents, food and bottled water with them.

Many parts of China have been hit by severe flooding this year, in what officials say is the country's worst seasonal flooding in a decade. More than 1,000 people have been killed.

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