China mudslide: Toll rises to 1239; national mourning declared
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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.


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

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