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Heavy Rains Bring More Misery to Disaster Area in China

Heavy rains compound search and rescue operation in northwest China's Gansu province, 12 Aug 2010

Relief efforts are back on track in northwest China after new landslides blocked the road to a town in Gansu province where more than 1,100 people have died.

Xinhua news agency said it took six hours to clear the road amid heavy rains that are forecast to continue.

No live rescues have been reported since Wednesday in the town of Zhouqu, which was partly buried Sunday by a river of mud and debris. Xinhua said authorities are turning their attention to the survivors, most of whom are Tibetan herders and farmers.

Xinhua said police will launch round-the-clock patrols to guard against looting. Provincial authorities promised subsidies to all those whose homes were damaged and set a goal of rebuilding the town by next June.

No new casualty toll has been announced since Wednesday, when officials listed 1,117 killed and 627 missing. Many thousands more are homeless and living in hastily built tent camps, where they remain vulnerable to the elements.

Xinhua said large amounts of relief supplies have reached the town since mid-day Wednesday. These include more than 7,000 tents, 20,000 quilts, 230 generators and 5,000 kilograms of flour.

The Zhouqu mudslide is the deadliest single incident in weeks of flooding that has killed at least 2,000 people across China. The damage runs into the tens of billions of dollars, affecting 28 provinces and regions.

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