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Latest News
UPDATED: August 15, 2010
Death Toll from Zhouqu Mudslides Rises to 1,239

The death toll from the massive mudslide in Zhouqu County, northwest China's Gansu Province, has risen to 1,239 as of 4 p.m. Saturday, with 505 still missing, local disaster relief headquarters said.

The county education department said Saturday that primary and middle schools in Zhouqu will start the autumn semester on Aug. 25, ten days later than scheduled.

This was because hundreds of homes and one primary school were buried and more schools were damaged or inundated in water. Many school classrooms are also being used as temporary shelters.

By Saturday noon, power supply was resumed in 8,375 homes, or 76 percent of all affected in the blackout.

Vegetables were on sale for the first time on Saturday, nearly a week after the mudslide buried the only vegetable market in Zhouqu.

Local authorities ordered 8,400 kg vegetables from neighboring Longnan City and they were sold Saturday afternoon at the same or even lower prices prior to the disaster.

Downpours from Wednesday night to Thursday morning have triggered severe floods and mudslides in Longnan, leaving 33 dead and 63 missing, local government said.

A major road into the counties of Chengxian and Huixian in Longnan was reopened Saturday night after being damaged in the floods.

More than 500 troops and 26 doctors have arrived in the hardest-hit Chengxian, where at least 20 people were killed and more than 10,000 residents had been relocated, to join in the rescue operations.

In Gansu's neighboring province of Sichuan, floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains this week have killed at least 10 people and left another 57 missing.

In Wenchuan of Sichuan alone, the epicenter of an 8-magnitude quake in May 2008 that left 87,000 people dead or missing, the floods had left 38 people missing by 3 p.m. Saturday.

Some regions in Sichuan received a rainfall of more than 200 millimeters between Thursday and Saturday, prompting water levels in many major local rivers to rise above warning levels.

Heavy rains also wrecked the eastern province of Shandong this week, forcing the evacuation of 204,500 people, damaging 547,100 hectares of crops, toppling 15,873 houses and causing a direct economic loss of 2.38 billion yuan ($350 million).

China suffers the worst flood in at least a decade this summer. Floods and other rain-triggered disaster had left more than 2,300 people dead and further 1,200 missing nationwide this year.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2010)

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