| GEO World|
| 20 missing in China landslide: report|
| Updated at: 1043 PST, Monday, July 19, 2010|
BEIJING: At least 20 people were missing Monday after a rain-triggered landslide buried parts of a north China village, while rising waters threatened to overrun numerous lakes and rivers including the Yangtze.
The landslide engulfed nine homes in Muzhu village in Shaanxi province late Sunday, a local news agency reported, saying that 20 people were missing and believed buried under the debris.
The local government was scrambling to organise search and rescue operations, while the exact toll was still being compiled, the report said.
China is facing some of its worst floods in over a decade as water levels in lakes and rivers -- including the Yangtze, the nation's longest river -- have exceeded danger levels, the civil affairs ministry said Sunday.
According to state media, water levels in the upper reaches of the Yangtze have already surpassed those of 1998, when over 4,150 people were killed and 18 million evacuated in China's worst flooding in recent memory.
The massive water flow on the Yangtze also poses the biggest challenge to the Three Gorges Dam since the dam part of the world's largest hydroelectric project was completed in 2006, the China Daily newspaper said.
With heavy rains forecast Monday along the upper reaches of the river, flood pressures on downriver lakes such as Dongting and Poyang -- where water levels were already near warning marks -- were expected to rise, the ministry warned.
At least 146 people have died and 40 were still missing from rain-induced disasters since the start of July in 11 Chinese provinces, mostly along the Yangtze, the ministry said last week.
As of July 13, 567 people have been killed and 251 have gone missing in floods nationwide this year, with economic losses nearing 116 billion yuan (17 billion dollars), the ministry said earlier.