Death toll in China mudslide hits 702
Chinese authorities say the death toll from devastating landslides in the northwest of the country has jumped to 702, with more than 1,000 still missing, Press TV reported.
Rescuers continue to dig through the mud in search of survivors from the landslides. However, hope of finding more survivors is dimming. Rescuers using shovels pulled dozens of bodies from thick mud Tuesday.
Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, said on a visit to the stricken Zhouqu County that there was a 72-hour "golden window" for finding survivors, after which the chances of finding people alive drop, Xinhua reported.
The landslides were triggered by torrential rain that sent tons of mud and rock down steep and barren hills. Entire villages in the hardest hit Zhouqu County in the northwestern Gansu province were completely buried.
More than 7000 soldiers, police, firefighters, and medics were deployed in the region, but road conditions made it difficult to bring in heavy earth-moving equipment.
Flooding has affected millions across China, Pakistan and North Korea.