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China Landslide Toll Rises To 700; Pakistanis Flee

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Enlarge Associated Press

Pakistani troops evacuate stranded villagers in Pannu Aqil near Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.The U.N., relying on Pakistani figures, says the number of people affected by flooding over the past two weeks is 13.8 million, more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, although the death toll in each of those disasters was much higher than the 1,500 people killed in the floods.

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Associated Press

Pakistani troops evacuate stranded villagers in Pannu Aqil near Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.The U.N., relying on Pakistani figures, says the number of people affected by flooding over the past two weeks is 13.8 million, more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, although the death toll in each of those disasters was much higher than the 1,500 people killed in the floods.

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Enlarge Associated Press

A Chinese man grieves over his loss while being comforted by others after a mudslide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled Tuesday to reach survivors from massive flooding that has afflicted millions of people, as the death toll climbed in a remote Chinese town where hundreds died and more than 1,100 were missing from landslides.

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Associated Press

A Chinese man grieves over his loss while being comforted by others after a mudslide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled Tuesday to reach survivors from massive flooding that has afflicted millions of people, as the death toll climbed in a remote Chinese town where hundreds died and more than 1,100 were missing from landslides.

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Enlarge Associated Press

A Pakistani family withered by heavy flooding sits over a debris of their house in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Associated Press

A Pakistani family withered by heavy flooding sits over a debris of their house in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Associated Press

A Pakistani flood affected man waits for relief in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Pakistani flood survivors queue for relief stuff in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Associated Press

Pakistani flood survivors queue for relief stuff in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Enlarge Associated Press

A Pakistani official wields a baton to discipline flood survivors gathered for relief good in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Associated Press

A Pakistani official wields a baton to discipline flood survivors gathered for relief good in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Flood survivors struggle for relief in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Associated Press

Flood survivors struggle for relief in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history that have affected nearly 14 million people.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Pakistani flood affected people carry relief stuff in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. The U.N., relying on Pakistani figures, says the number of people affected by flooding over the past two weeks is 13.8 million _ more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, although the death toll in each of those disasters was much higher than the 1,500 people killed in the floods.

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Associated Press

Pakistani flood affected people carry relief stuff in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. The U.N., relying on Pakistani figures, says the number of people affected by flooding over the past two weeks is 13.8 million _ more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, although the death toll in each of those disasters was much higher than the 1,500 people killed in the floods.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Flood survivors get relief goods in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by its worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

Flood survivors get relief goods in Mohib Banda near Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by its worst natural disaster.

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Enlarge Associated Press

A Pakistani wades through heavy floodwater near his collapsed house in Camp Karoona near Nowshera, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. The U.N., relying on Pakistani figures, says the number of people affected by flooding over the past two weeks is 13.8 million _ more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, although the death toll in each of those disasters was much higher than the 1,500 people killed in the floods.

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Associated Press

A Pakistani wades through heavy floodwater near his collapsed house in Camp Karoona near Nowshera, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. The U.N., relying on Pakistani figures, says the number of people affected by flooding over the past two weeks is 13.8 million _ more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, although the death toll in each of those disasters was much higher than the 1,500 people killed in the floods.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Family members comfort a woman who cries after loosing her house by heavy flooding in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

Family members comfort a woman who cries after loosing her house by heavy flooding in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

A Pakistani woman cries after loosing her house by heavy flooding in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Enlarge Associated Press

A soldier of Pakistan's para-military force stands guard near flooded shanty shelters of local people in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

A soldier of Pakistan's para-military force stands guard near flooded shanty shelters of local people in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Pakistan army soldiers distribute food relief among flood survivors in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

Pakistan army soldiers distribute food relief among flood survivors in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Flood survivors evacuate to safe places in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

Flood survivors evacuate to safe places in Sukkar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

Pakistani flood survivors jostle to get relief supplies provided by Pakistan army in Jaffarabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Enlarge Associated Press

A Pakistani villagers rests as his house was submerged by flood water in Ghazi Ghat near Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

A Pakistani villagers rests as his house was submerged by flood water in Ghazi Ghat near Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Pakistani flood survivors jostle to get relief supplies provided by Pakistan army in Jaffarabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

Pakistani flood survivors jostle to get relief supplies provided by Pakistan army in Jaffarabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. President Asif Ali Zardari returned Tuesday to flood-ravaged Pakistan, where he faced a storm of criticism for visiting Europe as his country was gripped by what his government called the nation's worst natural disaster.

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Associated Press

Rescue workers and residents search for victims after a mud slide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Chinese rescue workers use planks to create a route on which to walk through soft mud near the roof top of a building buried after a mud slide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

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Associated Press

Chinese rescue workers use planks to create a route on which to walk through soft mud near the roof top of a building buried after a mud slide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

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Associated Press

Rescue workers and residents search for victims after a mud slide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Chinese rescue workers carry wooden boards to create a passable route through soft mud after a mudslide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

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Associated Press

Chinese rescue workers carry wooden boards to create a passable route through soft mud after a mudslide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Explosives are set off to clear away debris stemming the flow of a river after a mud slide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

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Associated Press

Explosives are set off to clear away debris stemming the flow of a river after a mud slide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Chinese soldiers walk in a line as they prepare to search for victims of a mud slide that swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled to reach survivors from flooding that has afflicted millions of people.

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Associated Press

Chinese soldiers walk in a line as they prepare to search for victims of a mud slide that swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled to reach survivors from flooding that has afflicted millions of people.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Chinese rescue workers and residents dig in the mud for victims of Sunday's mud slide that swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled to reach survivors from flooding that has afflicted millions of people.

14_APTOPIX_China_Asia_Floods.sff.jpg
Associated Press

Chinese rescue workers and residents dig in the mud for victims of Sunday's mud slide that swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled to reach survivors from flooding that has afflicted millions of people.

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Enlarge Associated Press

Chinese residents search a partially collapsed building for survivors after Sunday's mud slide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled to reach survivors from flooding that has afflicted millions of people.

17_APTOPIX_China_Asia_Floods.sff.jpg
Associated Press

Chinese residents search a partially collapsed building for survivors after Sunday's mud slide swept into the town of Zhouqu in Gannan prefecture of northwestern China's Gansu province, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled to reach survivors from flooding that has afflicted millions of people.

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ZHOUQU, China August 11, 2010, 01:23 am ET

The death toll from landslides in northwestern China more than doubled to 702 Tuesday, as rescue crews in three Asian countries struggled to reach survivors from flooding that has imperiled millions.

Rescuers digging by hand through mud found a 52-year-old man who had been trapped for more than 50 hours inside a leveled apartment building in the remote town of Zhouqu, where more than 1,000 other people were still listed as missing. Rescuers with sniffer dogs discovered the man, Liu Ma Shindan, who was weak but breathing normally.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari returned home to a storm of criticism after visiting Europe as his country was gripped by the worst floods in its history. His arrival Tuesday came as thousands of people fled a major city in central Pakistan as rivers threatened to submerge the area.

And rescuers in the desert mountainsides in Indian-controlled Kashmir recovered more bodies, with the death toll rising to 165 from flash floods. Thousands of army and paramilitary soldiers continued clearing roads and removing the debris of hundreds of homes flattened in the Ladakh region.

About 200 remained missing around Ladakh, said Lt. Col. J. S. Brar, an army spokesman. With the road links being restored, nearly 300 people who fled to higher ground have returned to their homes, he said.

The disaster in China's Gansu province was caused when a debris-blocked swollen river burst, swamping entire mountain villages in the county seat of Zhouqu.

Tian Baozhong, the director of civil affairs in Gansu province, said the death toll now stood at 702, up from 337 on Monday.

Another survivor, Yang Zhukai, began the sad task of making simple coffins for the 10 to 20 relatives killed by the mudslide.

"These are all for relatives, for relatives killed by the mudslide. It was so unexpected — a huge landslide like this. There's nothing left. We managed to escape with our lives. As far as relatives, 10 to 20 died from my village," he told Associated Press Television News.

Throughout the area, bodies were seen wrapped in blankets and tied to sticks or placed on planks and left on the shattered streets for pickup.

The ruling Communist Party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee met early Tuesday to discuss rescue and relief work, a move that will likely free up even more resources.

"It is now a critical time for disaster relief and rescue work. We must give the highest prominence to the protection of people's lives and properties," the committee said in a statement.

The government said 1,042 were missing and about 45,000 were evacuated. It was not known how many of the missing were in danger or simply out of contact as workers rushed to restore communications.

More rain is expected in the region in coming days, the China Meteorological Administration said. Tents, blankets, food and water were all being rushed to the isolated area, creating traffic jams on the few roads in.

Flooding in China has killed about 1,800 people this year and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage across 28 provinces and regions.

In Pakistan, two weeks of flooding have killed 1,500. Amid the relentless rains, President Zardari — an unpopular figure to begin with — took off for a visit to France and Britain. His aides said he had to make the trip for diplomatic reasons, especially to Britain, whose Prime Minister David Cameron had recently accused Pakistan of exporting terrorism.

But the timing of trip struck a raw nerve among many who said Zardari should have stayed with his suffering people. The widespread crisis has overwhelmed Pakistan's government and frustrated citizens who have complained about slow or nonexistent aid efforts.

The Pakistani Taliban, which is allied to al-Qaida and is fighting for the overthrow of the Pakistani state, urged the government not to accept any Western aid for flood relief. Western countries have given millions of dollars, and the U.S. effort has included helicopter relief flights in the stricken region.

Pakistan estimates that 13.8 million of its people are affected by the floods and will need short-term aid or long-term assistance to recover.

"The magnitude of the tragedy is so immense that it is hard to assess," said Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during a visit to the central Pakistani city of Multan.

On Tuesday, people streamed out of Muzaffargarh, a major city of about 250,000 people in Punjab province, after authorities issued warnings using loudspeakers on mosques the previous evening. "There is chaos," said Mohammed Amir, a police official in the city.

———

Associated Press writers Ashraf Khan in Sukkur, Pakistan and Aijaz Hussain in Indian-controlled Kashmir contributed to this report.

 
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