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    Mudslide Death Toll Rises in Gansu Province, China


    by NTDTelevision

    The deathtoll in a mudslide in northwest China continues to climb. Over 300 have lost their lives, and more than a thousand are missing.

    Cries of grief echoed through the northwest Chinese town of Zhouqu on Tuesday that was half-smothered by a mudslide three days ago.

    The death toll in Zhouqu, in a narrow valley in Gansu Province, jumped from 137 earlier on Monday evening to 337, according to a local official.

    That number is sure to grow, with around 1,100 people still missing, possibly buried under mud and rocks that engulfed much of the town.

    [Yin Linfeng, Survivor]: (Mandarin, female)
    "It is my niece buried underneath. She is a high school student, a very nice girl. She was buried in the rubble when she was looking after my house. Only a handful of my neighbors survived. One of them was working at the local school. The rest of them just didn't make it... I will not give up. I want to see her body if she is dead. It was all my fault."

    But the slurry of mud that devastated the worst hit areas has complicated rescue efforts and dimmed hopes of finding people alive.

    Some relatives criticized the rescue efforts.

    [Zhu Fujun, Survivor]: (Mandarin, male)
    "All our family members started to dig with shovels the moment we arrived. We couldn't find the soldiers, they might have gone to have lunch, I am not quite sure why we couldn't find them. There are still 16 people buried underneath, including my brother."

    But some locals pointed the finger of blame at the destruction of forests.

    [Fen Haiming, Survivor]: (Mandarin, male)
    "I think it happened due to ecological destruction. The landslide is the worst in decades. I believe it was caused by human error."

    Experts said the landslide, which carried mud and rubble over three miles, may have been caused by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake loosening the mountainside.