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Hopes Dim for Finding Survivors in China Landslides

Rescuers using shovels pulled dozens of bodies from thick mud on Monday in northwestern China, where more than 1,000 people are missing.

Authorities said 337 people are now confirmed dead in landslides that buried entire villages in Zhouqu County, part of Gansu province. The treeless region of hilly pastureland is populated largely by ethnic Tibetan herders and farmers.

A 74-year-old woman was pulled alive Monday from a four-story building, but hope of finding more survivors was dimming 48 hours after the mudslides. Premier Wen Jiabao visited the scene for a second day, urging the rescuers not to give up.

The Gansu mudslides are the deadliest single incident in weeks of flooding that have killed more than 1,300 people across China this year. Authorities say the flooding of the Bailong River submerged half of Zhouqu County, and that about 45,000 people were evacuated. Blockages on the river created an artificial lake three kilometers long.

More than 4,000 soldiers, police, firefighters and medics were deployed in the region, but road conditions made it difficult to bring in heavy earth-moving equipment. The rescuers brought tents, food and bottled water with them.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.