China’s Zhouqu County August, 2010 Mudslides: Over 1,100 Dead
Death toll climbs to 1,117 in China mudslides
8/11/2010/1:00 P.M. EDT
by the CNN Wire Staff
Zhouqu County, China — There were homes here once but Yueyuan village is now a sweeping mud plain. Residents dig through the sludge where they think their bedroom once was.
Maybe there is still a loved one under there. Maybe he or she is still alive, though hopes of finding survivors in China’s massive mudslides are fast dimming.
The death toll Wednesday soared to 1,117, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, though local residents believe that number to be higher.
Li Jinming had pulled up in his taxi when he witnessed the wall of mud and rocks rush through Yueyuan. Rescue teams found the body of his wife but they are still searching for his two sons. He draws a map of his house, and points out where he believes his boys might have been.
Anxiety, grief and the stench of death overwhelmed Zhouqu County in China’s northwestern Gansu province, where torrential rains triggered the mudslides Sunday. Emergency teams have rescued 1,243 people but 627 people are missing, Xinhua said.
The side of a mountain broke off in the night and tore through remote Zhouqu, burying homes and ripping others apart. The path of the mudslide is covered in three and four stories of rock and mud.
Some buildings, including the police department and a primary school, were flattened by the wall of mud. Others toppled over or vanished completely, buried under sludge several feet deep.
“There was a noise like thunder and then it came down from the sky,” said one woman, who did not want to be identified. “There was no way to escape.” – More here