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Tibet mudslide death toll rises to 702, Tibetan exiles offer prayers: Update
Phayul[Tuesday, August 10, 2010 15:09]
August 10: (UPDATE) Death toll from landslides in Tibet's Amdo Province has more than doubled Tuesday to 702, with 1,042 others still missing, Chinese state media said late Tuesday.

Some 1,243 people have been rescued and 42 of them were found seriously injured, Xinhua said, quoting Tian Baozhong, head of the Chinese provincial civil affairs department.

By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, August 10: Tibet's government in exile Tuesday organised a mass prayer service for the victims and survivors of devastating mudslides that struck Drugchu County (Ch: Zhuoqu County) in Tibet's Amdo province early Sunday.

A woman mourns the death of her relative killed in devastating landslides in Zhouqu County, China, on Monday. (Photo: AP)
A woman mourns the death of her relative killed in devastating landslides in Zhouqu County, China, on Monday. (Photo: AP)
The latest death toll has surged to 337, as rescuers continued desperate search for more than 1,000 others still missing, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua said Tuesday.

Hundreds of Tibetans gathered at the main Tibetan temple (Tsuglagkhang) here to offer special prayers for thousands of people affected by floods and mudslides in the region.

The hour-long prayer service, led by monks of Namgyal Monastery, was organised by the Kashag and the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration and was attended by entire staff of the administration.

The death toll jumped to 337 late Monday from an earlier figure of 137, Xinhua said, quoting Chen Jianhua, communist party chief of Gannan 'TAP'.

Another 1,148 are still missing, the report said.

According to the report, at least 30 percent of the local population are Tibetan. Many people have half Tibetan, half Chinese names, as a result of intermarriages between the two ethnic groups, Xinhua said.

Chinese media called it a rain-triggered mudslides, but a collaborative investigation by a Beijing-based Tibetan writer Woeser suggested that the landslide appeared to be a man-made disaster.

The 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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