Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rains threaten China mudslide disaster zone

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Rescuers racing against a potential new deluge on Wednesday hurried to drain an unstable lake formed by China's worst mudslides in decades, as the death toll surged past 1,100. More than 10,000 soldiers and rescuers combed through the mountains of mud that buried a remote area of the northwest province of Gansu at the weekend, killing 1,117 people by the latest count and leaving more than 600 others missing.

But the window of survival was fast closing, with only two survivors found on Wednesday, so authorities have focused on averting further devastation in the form of new floods and possible disease outbreaks.

With days of heavy rains forecast from Wednesday -- sparked in part by Typhoon Dianmu, which ravaged South Korea -- troops were using excavators and explosives to clear debris blocking the Bailong river that runs through Zhouqu.

The rubble has created a lake that, if it were to burst, could bring further destruction to areas already levelled by the avalanche of sludge and rocks, though officials insisted the risk had been minimised….

Gansu province, map by Ran, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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