Landslides kill 80 in northwest China, 2,000 missing

BEIJING – At least 80 people died in rain-triggered landslides north-western China county, state media reported Sunday.

About 2,000 people were still missing after the landslides, which occurred overnight in Zhouqu County, in a Tibetan part of Gansu Province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“I heard the fierce storm around 11:30 pm, later I found the mud-rock flow had rushed to our residential building. The cars in the yard have all been damaged. Many toppled houses have formed new barriers to the floods,” Peng Wei, head of the county’s fire department, was quoted as saying.

At least 50,000 people were believed to be affected by flooding that has submerged much of the county. Landslides have buried many houses, Xinhua quoted local authorities as saying.

Medical teams and more than 2,000 soldiers were dispatched for search and rescue operations.

Deep mud covered roads in some parts of the county, hampering the search.

Premier Wen Jiabao was en route to the disaster area, Xinhua said.

Several other parts of the country were also hard hit by recent torrential rain and flooding. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, there have been more than 1,450 flood-related deaths this year, and hundreds of people are still missing.