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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More