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China holds day of mourning


Mourning in Beijing, China
Mourning in Beijing, China

Jill Colton, staff writer

August 15, 2010 — China observed a day of mourning on Sunday for more than 1,200 mudslide victims that were killed in the northwest part of the country last week.

Extreme flooding in Zhouqu, China
Extreme flooding in Zhouqu, China

China was in mourning on Sunday, as the country said goodbye to more than 1,200 people that died in the Zhouqu mudslide last week.

Some 5,000 rescue workers and Zhouqu residents bowed their heads in silence, while cinemas were ordered to close and coal miners and railway workers stopped work. Meanwhile, in Beijing, the giant Chinese flag on Tiananmen Square was lowered to half-staff.

After heavy rains crashed through the northwest region in Gansu province, mudslides were triggered that practically destroyed the entire town. The government says another 496 people are still missing.

As more rain is in the forecast, soldiers went back to work after the memorial so they could try to prevent more flooding in Zhouqu. Debris is being cleared from the swollen Bailong River that flows through the town. One-third of the town is still under water following the catastrophic disaster that saw over 45,000 evacuations.

Sunday was the third time in two years that China has observed national mourning for a disaster. The government ordered a three-day observance after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province that killed 90,000 people in one day. Flooding across the country has been unusually devastating this year.

With files from The Associated Press

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