China Landslides Death Toll Rises

The number of casualties from landslides caused by heavy rains in China breached the 1,000-mark late Wednesday, as rescue workers continued to dig up bodies from mud-covered buildings and houses.

State media reported that the death toll from landslides that followed floods in northwestern China has reached at least 1,117, with more than 600 still missing. The report came as weather forecast points to more rains in the coming days, raising fears of more landslides in the area.

The landslides first occurred last Sunday when heavy rains caused the Bailong River to overflow its banks, bringing rushing waters, mud, and rubbles into communities in the Zhouqu district of Gansu province. In the worst affected area, three villages, including hundreds of homes, were entirely covered with mud. Debris brought by the raging mud also destroyed buildings and other infrastructure, reports said.

Aside from the rain, wanton tree cutting in the area is also being blamed for the disaster, the worst of its kind to hit the province in decades.