The death toll from a mudslide in Gansu province has risen to 702, the Wall Street Journal reported. A further 1,042 people remain missing, though 1,243 have been rescued. The mudslide destroyed an area 5 kilometers long and 300 meters wide in Zhouqu county, Gansu, and led to the evacuation of 45,000 residents. Relief operations have been held back by continuing torrential rains and difficult terrain. While heavy rain on the weekend has been blamed as the immediate cause of the disaster, scientists say decades of deforestation and dam building in the region have made it more susceptible to serious landslides.
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