China landslides kill eight, 40 missing

BEIJING, September  2, 2010 (AFP) - At least eight people died and 40 were missing after rain-triggered landslides struck a community in southwestern China, state media reported on Thursday.

The landslides swept through a mountain village near the city of Baoshan in a rugged region of Yunnan province, Xinhua news agency said.

State television said the landslides hit Wama village late Wednesday evening after heavy rain.
Up to 71 people from 20 families had been trapped in the debris, while 23 people had been rescued, the report said.

State media showed pictures of police, firemen and soldiers digging through collapsed buildings covered with mounds of rocks and mud on a mountainside.

Floods and related natural disasters triggered by torrential rains have affected 230 million people nationwide in China this year and resulted in the evacuation of more than 15 million people, the government has said.

The government said 3,185 people have been killed nationwide in this year's flood-related disasters, with 1,050 listed as missing as of August 31.

Much of the flooding has been centred on the Yangtze River in south-central China but cities and provinces across the country have been affected.

A devastating mudslide in the northwestern province of Gansu last month left at least 1,467 dead and 298 missing.

More than 4,150 people are estimated to have died in disastrous flooding in 1998, when heavy rain swelled the Yangtze, China's longest river, and many tributaries.

Eighteen million people were evacuated and millions of homes were destroyed in those floods, the country's worst in recent memory.