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Terrorism & Security

China flooding expected to worsen with heavy rains

China expects heavy rain in the coming days. China flooding and mudslides have already killed more than 1,000 people, with tens of thousands still at risk.

By Correspondent / August 11, 2010

In this photo, rescuers conduct the ninth explosion to blast debris damming a river in order to safely release potential flood waters in the mudslides-hit Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Gansu Province, Tuesday.

Zhang Yongjin/Xinhua/AP

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Rescuers in China are bracing for potentially more flooding just 72 hours after the country’s worst mudslide in decades killed more than 700 people in the northwest Gansu province. Forecasts indicate that more heavy rain is likely.

Military and rescue workers are trying to clear debris that is clogging the Bailong River and could create temporary dams which could then burst and send more water and mud rushing into the already devastated region.

More than 1,000 people are still unaccounted for and their prospects look grim. Unlike earthquakes where buildings may collapse but leave space for survivors, mudslides envelope an area leaving little hope for those buried beneath it, reports the BBC’s Michael Bristow. There are also few roads leading into the mountainous region, so it is difficult for rescue workers and supplies to reach the affected area.

With hope fading for finding survivors, authorities are trying to stop potential health crises that could result from the flood damage. Reuters reports that more than 10,000 troops have been sent to the area:

Authorities have warned that heavy rain expected in Zhouqu and other areas over coming days could bring the risk of more floods and land slips, including in adjacent Sichuan province.

Some 45,000 people have been evacuated from Zhouqu and officials warned others to leave or stay away.

"We are expecting very heavy rain for later today, please don't spend too long in town," said a policeman at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the town, who declined to give his name.

Almost all of the area’s drinking water has been contaminated and tens of thousands of people are without clean water and food, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The area is also now largely without a sewage system and toilets. Epidemiologists are concerned that water-borne diseases may be spreading.

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