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11 missing in China landslide
Tue, Jul 20, 2010
AFP

BEIJING - Eleven people were missing after a landslide Tuesday in southwestern China, where flooding caused by relentless torrential rains has triggered a series of deadly disasters, state media said.

The landslide swept into a village in Mianning county in Sichuan province early Tuesday, the Xinhua news agency reported, quoting provincial emergency response officials. Rescuers were searching through the debris, it said.

Floods and landslides have killed hundreds of people over the past few weeks across a wide arc of the country, mostly in the south.

Scores have reportedly died in just the past several days, with Sichuan and the neighbouring province of Shaanxi particularly hard-hit.

Rain-triggered landslides that struck in or near the Shaanxi cities of Ankang, Hanzhong and Shangluo since last week have killed 37 people and left 97 others missing, Xinhua said, quoting provincial authorities.

Flooding and other disasters also have destroyed at least 8,700 homes in the province and forced the evacuation of 170,000 people, it said.

The government said Monday that water levels in the Han river in Ankang had reached 50-year highs after heavy rains that began late last week.

Rivers throughout rain-hit regions have risen to or beyond their warning levels, flooding numerous towns and cities.

State television footage Tuesday showed rescuers ferrying flood victims out of inundated towns along the Han river and in other locations.

Several hundred people have been reported killed or missing nationwide this year, especially in June and July, when China began experiencing some of its worst flooding in more than a decade.

Persistent heavy rainfall has also caused water levels along the Yangtze - the nation's longest river - to surge.

State media reports said water levels in the river's upper reaches had already surpassed those of 1998, when more than 4,150 people were killed and 18 million evacuated in China's worst flooding in recent memory.

The massive water flow on the Yangtze was expected to pose the biggest test for the Three Gorges Dam - the world's largest hydroelectric project - since it was completed in 2006, state press has said.

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