Dozens dead, missing as new floods hit western China
At least 19 people died and 20 were missing after floods and landslides hit several areas of western China, local officials and state media said Friday.
Some 10,000 people were cut off by floodwater since Thursday in the Longnan area of Gansu province, where 10 people died and 12 were missing, the local government said.
Four people died and eight were missing in Gansu's Tianshui county, while five died and 500 were trapped in the Mianzhu area of neighbouring Sichuan province, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Floods and massive mudslides killed at least 1,144 people and left some 600 missing in Gansu's Zhouqu county earlier this week, dpa reported.
Meteorologists have forecast more heavy rain in Zhouqu and other areas of Gansu in the next few days.
The agency earlier quoted a geologist as saying logging of the steep mountainsides surrounding the Bailong river in Zhouqu was a major cause of the mudslides.
"A lingering drought lasting almost nine months in some local areas, and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that might have loosened the mountainside and caused some cracks, are also reasons behind the devastating mudslides," said government geologist Tao Qingfa.
Mudslides could be more devastating than floods because they moved rapidly and swept up an increasing load of trees, rubble and even cars, Tao told the agency.
"They move so fast that there is hardly any time left for evacuation," he said.
Thousands of troops and civilians have concentrated on relief work in Zhouqu since Wednesday, holding little hope of finding any more survivors following the huge mudflows that razed one village, devastated two others and damaged apartment blocks in the county town on Sunday.