Thousands stuck after China landslide

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

CHENGDU, China (AP) -- Landslides have blocked a highway with rubble and isolated 3,000 people in a quake-hit town in southwest China, Xinhua News Agency said.

Heavy rains Monday pushed large amounts of unstable earth and rocks onto three different sections of the highway near Yingxiu town in Sichuan province, Xinhua reported.

Hundreds of rescuers were working to clear the road, Xinhua said, and the government is considering sending relief materials into Yingxiu by helicopter.

"We're not sure when the road will be reopened as the rain is really a problem. It may cause new landslides," an official with the Sichuan provincial highway administration was quoted as saying in the late Monday report.

Yingxiu, near the epicenter of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan, was one of the worst-hit towns, its buildings left largely in rubble and more than two-thirds of its 12,000 residents dead, according to Xinhua.

June marked the start of the annual rainy season, which routinely causes the region's fast flowing streams to flood their banks. More rain is forecast for the next few days, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

Landslides are a particular concern because the earthquake caused hillsides to shear away and crash into river valleys below. Many slopes remain unstable and are at high risk of being washed away.

The earthquake killed nearly 70,000 people and prompted China's government to launch a full-scale rescue effort. More than 18,000 are still missing, according to China's State Council.

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