[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=Zhouqu&iid=9517193″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9517193/rescuers-search-for/rescuers-search-for.jpg?size=500&imageId=9517193″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]
Rescuers are facing mud and sludge more than a meter thick as they continue to search for survivors from the deadly landslide that engulfed the town of Zhouqu (above) in Gansu at the weekend. The death toll has been raised at least 337 with 1,148 missing, many feared buried, making it the worst individual disaster caused by the torrential rains that have battered the country this year. “There were some, but very few, survivors,” one resident told the Associated Press. “Most of them are dead, crushed into the earth.”
Initial landslides caused by the rains swept mud and debris into the Bailong River, blocking it upstream of the town and creating a 3 kilometer long lake. When this overflowed early Sunday morning, it sent waves of water, mud and rocks cascading down the narrow river valley, washing away sleeping villages before hitting the town. With more rainfall in the forecast, draining the barrier lake is a priority.
Some 40,000 residents have been evacuated. Authorities have flown in more than 5,000 tents to provide temporary shelter for survivors. Some 4,500 troops are helping the rescue and relief effort. Military helicopters are flying the seriously injured to hospitals in the provincial capital Lanzhou.