Death Toll from Drugchu Mudslide Reaches 1435

Chinese emergency officials say the casualty toll from massive mudslides earlier this month in Drugchu in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous prefecture stands at 1,434 dead, with 331 people still missing.

The county government ordered locals to stop searching for the dead to prevent disease outbreaks, reports Xinhua News Agency.

"The bodies have begun to rot after being buried for two weeks. Searching the debris risks an epidemic outbreak," a government spokesman said.

Flood-related incidents in China this year have claimed nearly 4,000 lives -- victims who are either confirmed dead or have disappeared in the torrents. The landslides were triggered by torrential rain that sent tons of mud and rock down steep and barren hills.

Entire villages in Drugchu County in Gansu province were completely buried. The treeless region of hilly pastureland is populated largely by ethnic Tibetan herders and farmers.

Some information for this report was provided by Xinhua