News / USA

    US Mudslide Death Toll Rises; Flooding May Slow Search

    Workers search an area next to large mounds of dirt near Darrington, Washington state, in the debris field of the deadly mudslide, April 1, 2014.
    Workers search an area next to large mounds of dirt near Darrington, Washington state, in the debris field of the deadly mudslide, April 1, 2014.
    Reuters
    Efforts to recover bodies following a Washington state mudslide that killed at least 29 people could be hampered in the coming weeks if melting snow runs into a clogged river at the disaster site, officials said.
     
    Over the past two days, workers at the mud pile in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, northeast of Seattle, have taken advantage of sunny skies and receding water, but more rain is expected from Thursday through Sunday.
     
    The official death toll from the mudslide, based on the number of victims' remains sent to the coroner's office, rose to 29 on Wednesday, up from 28 a day earlier, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office said. On Tuesday, 20 people were still listed as missing.

     
    A rescuer and dog stand near a vehicle as search work continues in the mud and debris from a massive mudslide that struck Oso, Washington March 27, 2014.A rescuer and dog stand near a vehicle as search work continues in the mud and debris from a massive mudslide that struck Oso, Washington March 27, 2014.
    x
    A rescuer and dog stand near a vehicle as search work continues in the mud and debris from a massive mudslide that struck Oso, Washington March 27, 2014.
    A rescuer and dog stand near a vehicle as search work continues in the mud and debris from a massive mudslide that struck Oso, Washington March 27, 2014.
    The March 22 slide was triggered when a waterlogged hillside caved in above the Stillaguamish River. A torrent of mud roared over the riverbanks and across state Highway 530, engulfing some three dozen homes on the outskirts of the town of Oso.

    The mudslide clogged the Stillaguamish River, which in the following days cut a slow-moving channel through the mud and debris. But snow melting on the Cascade Mountains is expected to pour through that channel, possibly flooding the mud-pile site.
     
    Sections of the slide area, already under 25 feet of water and believed to contain human remains, could be submerged by more than 100 feet of water within three to four weeks without a channel to divert the partially dammed river, said Mike Asher, an area fire chief acting as the head of operations for the east side of the disaster zone.
     
    "There's a lot of snow left on the mountains surrounding the valley," Asher said. "We're going to start facing runoff issues from that in the very near future."

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on a plan to dig a river channel, likely to be accompanied by levies, to keep the muddy, contaminated disaster site cordoned off, Asher said.
     
    If the diversion goes wrong, the river could flow west down Highway 530, flooding both the road and homes alongside it, he said.
     
    Meanwhile, no sign of life has been detected since the day of the slide, when eight injured people were rescued.
     
    "Where we find a lot of log jams and that type of area, that's where we're finding the human remains," recovery team supervisor Steve Harris told reporters on Tuesday, referring to places where much of the debris had collected after trees and logs crashed through homes.
     
    The search-and-recovery force included a mix of firefighters, National Guard troops, U.S. Army soldiers and civilian  volunteers, some from the local community, in an area that supervisors have mapped out in a three-dimensional grid.
     
    The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said 22 of the confirmed fatalities have been identified, including a four-month-old girl and two other children aged five and six.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora