China mourns landslide victims

Flags fly at half mast and entertainment suspended on national day of mourning.

    More than 1,200 people were killed after landslides swept through Zhouqu in Gansu province [Reuters]

    An estimated 588 people are still missing after last weekend's avalanche of mud and rocks, which levelled an area 5km long and 300m wide.

    Health fears

    Health authorities said survivors of the deadly floods and landslides in Zhouqu faced a grim situation after clinics were damaged and vaccines ruined.

    Clean drinking water was a primary concern, with most local sources knocked out or too polluted to use. State media reported numerous cases of dysentery, but there were no reports of an epidemic outbreak.

    Disaster in figures

     Landslides in country's west have killed more than 1,150 people

     Heavy rains have affected over 300 million people and caused $1.7bn in economic losses

     More than 2,100 people are dead or missing across China due to floods and landslides

     Twelve million people have been evacuated nationwide

    Authorities were working to disinfect drinking water supplies and have brought in mobile water purification units that can provide clean water for up to 30,000 people, China News Service reported.

    Work continued to clear Gansu's Bailong River, which overflowed after it was blocked by debris, triggering fears that further downpours could bring more flooding.

    The landslides had been triggered by torrential rains and the official Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying there would be further downpours on Sunday with flash floods, landslides and floating debris posing dangers in Gansu and Sichuan provinces.

    The heavy rains have affected more than 305 million people and caused $1.7bn in economic losses, according to Xinhua, citing the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters agency.

    The mudslides in Zhouqu are the latest in a string of weather-related disasters across China.

    More than 2,100 people have been left dead or missing and 12 million evacuated nationwide, not including the toll from the Zhouqu incident.

    The civil affairs ministry said on Friday that it had not calculated a new nationwide flood death toll.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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