china landslides.jpgLandslides slammed into three mountain hamlets in western China early today, killing 17 people and leaving 44 missing, while crews drained an engorged reservoir in another part of the country following heavy rains.


State media said the landslides swept through the rural communities in three different areas before dawn.


In the worst hit town of Xiaohe in Yunnan province, rescuers searched for 42 people while an additional four were dead and 38 injured, the official provincial newspaper, Yunnan Daily, said in a report on its website.


The Xinhua News Agency reported that in neighboring Sichuan province, seven died and one person was still missing in Yandai village while in Sima village rescuers recovered six bodies and were searching for one person.


Meanwhile,an official at the Qinghai province water bureau said waters in a reservoir near the far western city of Golmud began to subside today after hundreds of workers and soldiers finished digging a diversion channel.


The Golmud city government’s website said reservoir at one point swelled to almost four feet (more than a meter) above its warning level.


Over the weekend, about 10,000 residents were evacuated to safety as soldiers transported sandbags, rocks and dirt and used bulldozers to dig the emergency waterway.


Usually prone to drought, Qinghai has seen increasingly heavier rainfalls in recent years.


This year’s rains fell as the snow melted in the surrounding mountains. Dozens of reservoirs reportedly swelled beyond their warning levels.


The China Meteorological Administration said Heavy rain is expected to sweep through the Yangtze River basin — including Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Sichuan provinces — through Wednesday.