Fflood fury continued to wreak havoc in China where 127 people were killed and 2,000 were missing after one of the worst landslides hit the remote Gansu province today, submerging a township inhabited by 1.3 lakh people, mostly Tibetans.
Flood waters with sludge and rocks from a blocked river on spate buried an entire village, devouring everything in its wake, including several multi-story buildings.
Hundreds of homes were toppled and several residents were still trapped in the Chengguan Township and several villages in northwest China’s Zhouqu County in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, official media reports said, quoting ruling Communist party officials.
“76 people were injured, while nearly 2,000 others in the county were still missing. About 45,000 people have been evacuated,” Xinhua news agency said, quoting a statement from the provincial civil affairs department.
The Tibetan Autonomous region which has a population of over 1.3 lakh has been submerged by the landslides.
Sludge as thick as two meters was spread across some major roads in the county.
Many trapped residents were waiting for rescuers atop buildings, an official statement said, adding that a primary school and some governmental offices in the county were also damaged.
Thirty three percent of the people of the prefecture were Tibetans.
As soon as the news broke out, prime minister Wen Jiabao rushed to the spot while president Hu Jintao ordered all out efforts by the army and civilian forces to mount a massive rescue efforts to save people.
Wen has set up temporary headquarters for rescue work aboard a plane heading for landslide-hit Zhouqu County to coordinate the relief activities.
The tragedy occurred last night with torrential rains which led to the landslides, said Diemujiangteng, head of the county.
The Bailong River on the banks of which the township was built had overflowed and a large body of slow moving water engulfed the Chengguan township.
“Many people were trapped. Now sludge has become the biggest problem to rescue operations. It’s too thick to walk or drive through,” he said.
“It’s very hard to locate the people washed away by floods. It’s hard to say what their chances of survival are,” he said.
Peng Wei, head of the county’s fire department said, “the county is in a valley and the river runs through the middle.”
Government figures issued before the fresh disaster had put the number of people killed or missing in the devastating floods in the country this year at over 2,000.