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Western China flooding killed 31 people

World News : Floodwaters surging through Himalayan foothills in western China have swept bridges, houses and hillsides into roiling brown torrents, leaving at least 31 people dead and 166 missing Thursday, as heavy rains buffeted many parts of the country.

Flooding in the western province of Sichuan was the worst in 50 years for some areas, with more than 220,000 people forced to evacuate.

Nationwide, at least 46 people have died due to the violent weather since Sunday, according to figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the official Xinhua News Agency.

Thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged and transportation has come to a virtual standstill in hard-hit areas.

Many of the casualties in Sichuan were from a massive landslide that struck a scenic resort outside the city of Dujiangyan, killing 18 people and leaving 107 missing.

An entire hillside collapsed onto clusters of holiday cottages where city dwellers escape summer heat, a survivor told Xinhua.

The noise was like thunder and went on for two or three minutes. My first thought was that I too would be buried,” Gao Quanshi, 47, was quoted as saying. Phone lines were cut, so villagers had to trek to nearby government offices to call for help, he said.

Images from the scene showed a valley filled with mud and rocks, with only the tops of trees sticking through. Drenched rescuers wearing helmets and life jackets worked mostly with hand tools to prevent harming any survivors still trapped beneath.

A total of 352 tourists had been rescued from the area as of Wednesday night, Xinhua said. Overall in Sichuan, there were at least 31 people dead and 166 missing, said the provincial department of civil affairs. Agencies

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