China mourns 1200 lost in mudslide

Posted on 16 August 2010

Cinemas closed and coal miners stopped work as China observed a day of mourning for more than 1200 victims of a mudslide a week ago in a northwestern town, while authorities rushed to protect survivors from more flooding.


In a televised memorial service, around 5000 rescue workers and Zhouqu residents bowed their heads in silence as a siren wailed at 10am local time.


State TV showed coal miners in northern China and railway workers with their heads bowed in mourning.


Cinemas and karaoke parlours were ordered to close and concerts were cancelled. The giant Chinese flag on Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing and flags at government offices were lowered to half-staff. Websites switched to all-black formats.


At least 1239 people were killed as waves of mud and rock triggered by heavy rains crashed through Zhouqu in Gansu province on August 8, knocking down houses and other buildings. The Government says another 505 people are still missing.


With more rain forecast, soldiers were working around the clock to clear debris from the swollen Bailong River that flows through Zhouqu and prevent more flooding.


Also yesterday, 38 people were missing after rains triggered landslides in Sichuan province in the southwest, the Government's Xinhua News Service said.


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