China mud flow toll rises to 254

September 14th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Xiangfen (China), Sep 14 (Xinhua) The toll in last Monday’s mud-rock flow in north China’s Shanxi province has risen to 254, authorities have said.The accident occurred Monday morning when the embankment of a mining reservoir containing tonnes of liquid iron-ore waste collapsed, submerging downstream villages and a crowded market.

The mine in Xinagfen county had no valid licence.

Rescuers have started de-silting operation along a 300-metre long ditch in search of bodies.

“This is the toughest phase of the ongoing rescue,” said Lian Zhendong, chief of the rescue headquarters. “But we will do our utmost to finish the search in three to five days.”

Kang Haiyin, Communist Party committee chief of Xiangfen County, and Li Xuejun, the county head, have been suspended from duty.

According to initial estimates, direct economic losses of the accident would hit 9.18 million yuan ($1.34 million).

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