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Deathtoll from Drugchu mudslide reaches 1435

August 24, 2010

August 23, 2010

Dharamsala, Aug. 23 - The death toll from the
mudslides in Drugchu County had reached 1,435
Sunday with 330 still missing, Chinese state run media reported.

The county government ordered locals to stop
searching for the dead to prevent disease outbreaks, Xinhua said.

"The bodies have begun to rot after being buried
for two weeks. Searching the debris risks an
epidemic outbreak," Xinhua quoted a spokesman from government spokesman.

A report by Christian Science Monitor, said the
mudslides were predicted 13 years ago, when
Chinese government-run lumber companies cut
313,000 acres of forest from the slopes of
Drugchu county between 1952 and 1990, denuding
the geologically vulnerable mountainsides and subjecting them to soil erosion.

The report said the findings were supported by official records.

At the time, it said Chinese scientists warned
that deforestation in geologically sensitive areas could exacerbate mudslides.

The report said two Chinese scientists published
a paper warning that following "the destruction
of the eco-system” in the district, "a rainstorm
will carry debris down the gully, destroying
farmland, houses, roads, bridges, water
facilities, and power systems and causing death and injury."

Chinese media have called it a rain-triggered
mudslides, but the latest report is corroborated
by a collaborative investigation by a
Beijing-based Tibetan writer Woeser, which also
suggested that the landslide appeared to be a "man-made disaster".

The investigative findings said excessive mining
activities, construction of number of
hydroelectric power plants and other development
activities, and heavy deforestation taking place
in Drugchu County area could have triggered the mudslides.

The investigation, citing Chinese government
reports, found more than 60 incidents of
landslides in Drugchu County alone in the past,
and 13 of them were said to be serious cases that
threatened the safety of local residents.
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