Thursday, July 11, 2013

Worst floods in 50 years lay waste to China’s Beichuan county- 30 believed buried alive


(Video) - Flooding in western China, the worst in 50 years for some areas, triggered a landslide Wednesday that buried about 30 people, trapped hundreds in a highway tunnel and destroyed a high-profile memorial to a devastating 2008 earthquake. Meanwhile, to the northeast, at least 12 workers were killed when a violent rainstorm caused the collapse of an unfinished coal mine workshop they were building, said a statement from the city government of Jinzhong, where the accident occurred.

The accident Tuesday night came amid heavy rain and high winds across a swath of northern China, including the capital, Beijing. There was no immediate word on the chances of survival for the 30 or so people buried in the landslide in the city of Dujiangyan in Sichuan province, but rescue workers with search dogs rushed to the area, the official Xinhua News Agency said. State-run China Central Television said hundreds of people were trapped in a highway tunnel between Dujiangyan and Wenchuan – the epicenter of the earthquake five years ago that left 90,000 people dead or missing.

Authorities were not able to make contact with the people, the report said. Mudslides and flooding are common in China’s mountainous areas, killing hundreds of people every year. Deforestation has led to soil erosion and made some parts of China prone to mudslides after strong rains. In nearby Beichuan county, flooding destroyed buildings and wrecked exhibits at a memorial for the 2008 earthquake. The quake left the Beichuan county seat unlivable.

The town was abandoned, and 27 square kilometers (10 square miles) of ruins were turned into a memorial and museum. The flooding also caused the collapse of an almost 50-year-old bridge in a neighboring county, sending six vehicles into the raging waters and leaving 12 people missing. Since Sunday, flooding in Sichuan has affected 360,000 people, damaging or destroying 300 homes and forcing at least 6,100 emergency evacuations, state media reported.  – Charlotte Observer, via TEP





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