The Heat Is Online

Mudslides, Floods Kill 17 in China

Mudslides Kill at Least 17 in China

The Associated Press, June 27, 2003

BEIJING -- Mudslides triggered by torrential rains have killed at least 17 people and left 24 missing in central and southwestern China, officials and media reports said Friday.

Eight bodies were pulled from the mud that crashed down on workers repairing a road in a rural section of mountainous Guizhou province late Tuesday evening, an official at the Xishui county government said.

Another 24 people are missing and a provincial vice governor has been dispatched to oversee rescue efforts, said the official, who identified himself only as Mr. Wu.

The victims included three passengers in a bus and nine travelers dining in a roadside restaurant, he said.

Further west in Sichuan province, two days of rains that began Tuesday night caused more than 150 landslides, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. A village leader bringing aid to others in the province's Shuanghe township was washed away by the waters and killed, the report said.

Waters as high as 6 feet knocked down 14,000 homes, washed out two dozen bridges and destroyed roads and powerlines in the city of Huaying, the report said.

Four other people were killed in the Chongqing region by floods that destroyed crops and homes, Xinhua said. The region is upriver of the giant Three Gorges Dam, which began operating this month.

Four quarry workers were also killed in Hubei province in central China, which has seen rains all month, Xinhua said.

Heavy rains this year have killed dozens of people in floods and landslides through much of southern and central China. In some cases, careless road building or development of forest land has been blamed for causing landslides, along with heavy logging that reduces the soil's ability to absorb rainfall.

Copyright © 2003, The Associated Press