China mudslide: Toll rises to 1239; national mourning declared

Last Updated: Sunday, August 15, 2010 - 00:13

Beijing: China will observe a national
day of mourning on Sunday in memory of those killed in the last
week`s massive floods in northwest Gansu province, even as the
toll in the calamity rose to 1239 while 505 are still missing.

While, 38 people remain traceless after rain triggered
landslides ravaged several towns in south west China`s Sichuan
Province today.

Gushing flood waters destroyed buildings and cut
communication networks with heavy rain triggered landslides in
several towns of Wenchuan County, where an 8-magnitude
earthquake claimed almost 70,000 lives on May 12, 2008.

Chinese government has declared national mourning
tomorrow during which flags across the country and its
embassies all over the world would fly half-mast to mourn the
victims of the devastating mudslide in the northwestern Gansu
Province.

The mudslide in the Tibetan majority Zhouqu County
killed at least 1239 with 505 still listed missing.

Meanwhile, China continued to reel under heavy floods
as 38 people were listed missing after rain-triggered floods
and landslides ravaged Wenchuan County in southwest China`s
Sichuan Province early today.

Yesterday, 33 people were reported killed and 32
missing in floods in different places. Heavy rain triggered
landslides in several towns of Wenchuan County, where an
8-magnitude earthquake claimed almost 70,000 lives on May 12,
2008.

Public entertainment will be suspended tomorrow in a
show of mourning. Sunday is the seventh day since the mudslide
and, according to some Chinese traditions, the seventh day
after a death is the height of the mourning period.

This is the second time this year areas largely
inhabited by Tibetans met with major natural disasters.

In April this year over 3000 people were killed in a
devastating earthquake in Qinghai province in the Yushu
prefecture.

China held a similar national mourning at that time.

Aerial footage telecast by state run CCTV showed a
swath of thick mud which slid on to the township and several
villages engulfed several multi story buildings where most of
the people were buried alive.

Official media reports said floods destroyed
prefabricated buildings of the hospital in Yingxiu Town, which
was the epicentre of the 2008 quake.

A 200-meter section of National Highway 213, the
only highway linking Wenchuan to the provincial capital of
Chengdu, was inundated with water four meters deep.

More than 4,000 people and about 1,300 vehicles were
stranded on blocked roads in the county.

The total included more than 300 people in Yingxiu
Town, which was the epicenter of the 2008 quake, and more than
700 in the Sanjiang tourist area. Around 10,000 residents
have been evacuated.

The county government has designated schools and
office buildings of township governments as temporary
shelters. In Yinxing Township, a barrier lake was formed by
the landslide in a section of the Minjiang River.

Floods are causing havoc in China as 33 people were
killed and 32 others were reported missing in the new round of
floods triggered by torrential rains in different parts of
China yesterday, while the while the death toll in the last
week?s mudslides in the Zhouqu County in Gansu province has
risen to 1,156 with 588 yet to be traced.

Heavy rains pounded some areas of Gansu, Sichuan and
Shaanxi provinces from Wednesday night to Thursday night,
destroying homes, inundating croplands, and disrupting traffic
and telecommunications.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, August 15, 2010 - 00:13

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