BEIJING — A flash flood washed through a mountain town in southwest China early Tuesday, killing three people and leaving at least 50 missing, while crews raced to drain an engorged reservoir in another part of the country following heavy summer rains.
Rescuers tried to locate the 56 missing people in Xiaohe town after the deluge swept through around 4 a.m., the state-run China News Agency said. The official Xinhua News Agency said the disaster in Xiaohe was a landslide, not a flood — an account disputed by media reports and an official in Yunnan province where Xiaohe is located and which has been pounded by heavy rains for weeks.
Meanwhile, hundreds of workers and soldiers were scrambling to drain a reservoir threatening to burst and flood a city in far western China that is home to more than 200,000 people, state media said.
About 10,000 residents from the city of Golmud in the high-altitude region of Qinghai were evacuated to temporary camp sites as rescuers began to build a channel for draining the overflowing Wenquan reservoir, Xinhua reported.
If breached, the reservoir could damage the nearby Qinghai-Tibet railway, along with the city's power and water plants. Some places would be submerged in as much as 10 feet (3 meters) of water, Xinhua said.