More than 700 die in landslides in China

August 10, 2010

The CNN Wire Staff

Beijing, China (CNN) — The death toll from mudslides in northwestern China rose to 702, state-run media reported Tuesday.

There were 1,042 people missing in Zhouqu County in the northwest, the Xinhua news agency reported

The landslides happened early Sunday after heavy rains hit the area, authorities said.

The side of a mountain broke off in the middle of the night and slid through a town in Zhouqu, covering homes and ripping others apart.

The path of the mudslide is now covered in three and four stories of rock and mud.

Members of the Chinese military, wearing green camouflage, were working in teams throughout the town, digging with their bare hands to find anyone trapped below.

The effort made for some dramatic rescues like the one in Zhouqu County where workers pulled a survivor from the wreckage of his home Tuesday, three days after he was buried in mudslides.

Chen Jianhua, an official in Zhouqu, said 218 injured survivors had been treated at local hospitals, and 41 severely injured survivors had been transferred for treatment in the provincial capital of Lanzhou, according to Xinhua.

On Sunday Premier Wen Jiabao and other government officials arrived at the mountainous region to survey the damage, according to Xinhua.

Wen also insisted that electricity be restored and traffic resumed in Zhouqu County as soon as possible.

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