Home International China moves to prevent further flooding, as rescue continues

China moves to prevent further flooding, as rescue continues


Beijing: Rescuers have pulled out a 74-year-old woman from her fourth-floor apartment Monday, as search for survivors continued in northwest China, hit by mudslides and floods triggered by torrential rains that left at least 127 people dead and over 1,200 missing.

Workers had to smash a hole in one of the walls of her apartment to pull her out, 36 hours after sludge and water flooded the building in Zhouqu county of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

A spokesman of the rescue headquarters said the woman was in a stable condition and able to talk. “But she was very weak from hunger and thirst.”

Torrential rains late Saturday sent an avalanche of sludge and debris crashing down on the county, ripping houses from their foundations and tearing up six-story apartment buildings.

In Yueyuan, one of the worst hit villages in the county, not a single structure remained intact. Thousands of police and soldiers are still searching the debris for signs of life, Xinhua reported.

The village, which sits at the foot of the craggy mountains, was reduced to a mess of yellow slush and debris.

Forty rescuers from the Chengdu fire brigade, veterans of 2008 Wenchuan earthquake rescue mission, arrived at Zhouqu Monday afternoon with life detectors and sniffer dogs.

Many survivors sat helplessly on the ground, watching the rescuers’ work and praying for miracles.

“That used to be my home,” said 36-year-old Zhao Xinquan, whose two-story home was torn down and five people were buried.

“I hope I can at least find their bodies, so that they can rest in peace,” Zhao said as he wiped away tears.

Meanwhile, soldiers used explosives to blast a blockage in the Bailong river, upstream from the affected area, in a desperate attempt to prevent further flooding.

Donations of cash and relief supplies were Monday pouring into the county in Gansu province. The provincial Red Cross said it had received more than 3.2 million yuan (about $472,883).

The county was still in dire need of food and drinking water, as the local water supply system was destroyed by the mudslide, cutting supplies to more than 40,000 people.

“Some relief supplies have arrived, but distribution is very slow, as all roads were covered by flood water or rubble and we can only rely on manual labour to carry supplies into town,” said Fang Xiaodong, deputy chief of the county.

The Zhouqu county is about 650 km from the provincial capital Lanzhou and sits on the Bailong river valley. It is hemmed in by craggy mountains on both sides and has a population of 134,700.