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China flooding expected to worsen with heavy rains

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Zhang Yongjin/Xinhua/AP

(Read caption) In this photo, rescuers conduct the ninth explosion to blast debris damming a river in order to safely release potential flood waters in the mudslides-hit Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Gansu Province, Tuesday.

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Rescuers in China are bracing for potentially more flooding just 72 hours after the country’s worst mudslide in decades killed more than 700 people in the northwest Gansu province. Forecasts indicate that more heavy rain is likely.

Military and rescue workers are trying to clear debris that is clogging the Bailong River and could create temporary dams which could then burst and send more water and mud rushing into the already devastated region.

More than 1,000 people are still unaccounted for and their prospects look grim. Unlike earthquakes where buildings may collapse but leave space for survivors, mudslides envelope an area leaving little hope for those buried beneath it, reports the BBC’s Michael Bristow. There are also few roads leading into the mountainous region, so it is difficult for rescue workers and supplies to reach the affected area.

With hope fading for finding survivors, authorities are trying to stop potential health crises that could result from the flood damage. Reuters reports that more than 10,000 troops have been sent to the area:

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