A massive rain-triggered mudslide hit Zhouqu in northwest China’s Gansu Province Sunday, causing 1,117 deaths, with 627 still missing, local authorities said Wednesday.
Four days have passed since the disaster took place in Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture; hopes of finding any survivors diminished as thunderstorms battered the county leveled by the sludge as of August 11th.
Through draining and underwater explosions, the volume of water in the mudslide-formed barrier lake has decreased to 700,000 cubic meters by 8:00 am Wednesday from 1.5 – 2 million cubic meters by August 10th, eliminating the danger of its collapse, said Jiao Yong, China’s vice minister of the Ministry of Water Resource, according to Xinhua news.
As weather forecast reveals heavy rainfall in the coming weeks, relief workers have dug a one-kilometer long drainage channel along the barrier lake, which has helped decrease the water level by 0.81 meters. However, local authorities believe that the death toll will continue to rise.
Moreover, there have been no reports of an epidemic outbreak or public health incident in the disaster area, reported health officials on Wednesday. However, local authorities believe that the death toll will continue to rise as the golden time for search and rescue passes.
Immediately following the news of the disaster, Christian humanitarian organization World Vision Hong Kong began their disaster relief. On Monday, they’ve reported the progress that have been made, including the distribution of 1,500 blankets, 1,000 bottles of clean water, 300 bags of items to sooth the children’s emotions; also, their Gansu staffs have been engaging in the rescue efforts.
On behalf of Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union (HKCCCU), Chairman Rev. Ming-Tim Woo, Vice-Chairman Rev. Kinson Pong Kin-Sun, and Executive Director Rev. Hang-Chuen Luk have visited Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong, S.A.R. and donated $200,000 towards the disaster zone on August 9th.
In addition, China’s government-sanctioned church body, Three-Self Patriotic Movement Protestant Churches/China Christian Council, issued a prayer request: “Pray for the victims of the Zhouqu mudslide! Ask God to have mercy towards that land that the residents living there.” Chinese Christians from throughout mainland posted prayers on forums and blogs, praying that the rescue and post-disaster reconstruction efforts can go smoothly.