China landslides kill 127; thousands reported missing

Heavy rains cause river overflow; severe flooding in northwest; 45,000 people evacuated.

August 8, 2010 12:32
2 minute read.
Rescuers search for missing personnel in northwest China

China landslides. (photo credit: Associated Press)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BEIJING — At least 127 people were reported killed and thousands more missing after floodwaters tore through a remote corner of northwestern China on Sunday, smashing buildings and overturning cars.

Half of an entire town was under water and an estimated 2,000 more people were missing in the latest deluge in a summer that has seen China's worst seasonal flooding in a decade.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Terrified residents fled to high ground or upper stories of apartment buildings after a debris-blocked river overflowed during the night in the northwestern province of Gansu.

Worst hit was the county seat of Zhouqu in the province's Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, with the official Xinhua News Agency reporting half of it under water. Many houses collapsed and streets were covered with a yard (meter) of mud and water after the early morning landslides, it said.

The landslides struck after heavy rains lashed the country late Saturday and the Bailong River overflowed, Xinhua quoted the head of Zhouqu county, Diemujiangteng, as saying,

"Now the sludge (thick mud) has became the biggest problem to rescue operations. It's too thick to walk or drive through," he was quoted as saying.

State broadcaster China Central Television said the death toll in the province was more than 96, with about 2,000 people missing. Power, water and communications were cut in affected areas in the southern part of the province, about one-third of whose residents are ethnic Tibetan, and it was not known how many of the missing were in danger or simply out of contact.

The devastation was worsened by the blockage of the river upstream, which created a barrier lake that overfilled and sent massive waves of water crashing down on the town, ripping houses from their foundations and tearing six-story apartment buildings in half.

Explosive experts were flying to the scene by helicopter to demolish the blockage and safely release potential flood waters. Tents, boxed meals and medical supplies were being rushed to the area, where more rain was forecast through Wednesday.

CCTV said 45,000 people had been evacuated, but the region's remote, mountainous location was hampering the emergency response. Heavy equipment could not be brought along the narrow access roads, forcing rescuers to rely on shovels, picks and buckets, while scattered stones either barred the way or caused tires to rupture. Pictures showed streets covered in layers of mud and stones, shattered buildings and cars washed downstream.

Xinhua said Premier Wen Jiabao was on his way to the disaster area to oversee rescue work.

The Lanzhou Military Area Command in the provincial capital dispatched 2,400 soldiers to help with rescue efforts.

Around China, the country's worst flooding in a decade has killed more than 1,100 people this year, with more than 600 still missing. The floods have caused tens of billions of dollars in damage across 28 provinces and regions.

Overall this year, about 875,000 homes have been destroyed, 9.61 million people evacuated, and 22 million acres (8.76 million hectares) of crops ruined, according to the government's flood control office.

Related Content

THE PERIMETER fence of Auschwitz II-Birkenau is enveloped in a thick evening fog during the ceremoni
July 17, 2018
Catholic leader: Antisemitism in Poland resurfaced due to Holocaust law