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Gansu Floods Kill 36 People, Adding to Death Toll in Mudslide

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Torrential rain since Aug. 11 left at least 36 people dead and 23 missing in western China’s Gansu, adding to the 1,200 killed this month in rain-triggered mudslides in the mountainous province.

Flooding and landslides in Longnan city also injured 295 people and forced the evacuation of 122,835 residents as of 4 p.m. local time yesterday, Xinhua News Agency said. The death toll from the Aug. 7 mudslide in Zhouqu county rose to 1,254 yesterday, with 490 people still missing, Xinhua reported.

Gansu may receive more rain today and tomorrow, which may cause more flooding and landslides, the China Meteorological Administration said. Authorities in Zhouqu are moving people out of risky areas after a rainstorm warning was issued.

Eleven other provinces including Shandong and Sichuan may also receive rain today, according to the weather bureau. In Shandong, flooding affected more than 610,000 hectares of crops and knocked down 27,829 homes between Aug. 8 and Aug. 14, Xinhua reported. A landslide in Wenchuan county in Sichuan, epicenter of China’s deadliest earthquake since 1976, killed 15 people and left nine injured, Xinhua said today, citing local authorities.

China’s floods this year have been the deadliest in more than a decade, killing more than 1,450 people as of Aug. 6 before the Zhouqu landslide, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said. In 1998, floods killed more than 4,000 people in China.

Disasters Increase

China had 19,553 “geological disasters” in the first half of 2010, 10 times the cases recorded last year, Xinhua reported on July 21, citing the China Institute of Geo-Environment Monitoring.

The government ordered a day of national mourning on Aug. 15 for victims of the Zhouqu landslide. The nation’s television networks showed only news program produced by state broadcaster China Central Television for the entire day, while movie theaters, karaoke bars and Internet game sites were shut.

China’s Water Resources Vice Minister Jiao Yong said in a televised Aug. 11 press conference that the Zhouqu landslide was caused by extreme weather conditions and not by excessive logging in the region.

To contact Bloomberg News staff on this story: Vince Ni in Beijing at vni1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Liu at jliu42@bloomberg.net

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