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Dozens missing after landslide in southwest China

Rescuers and residents carry out rescue operations in the mudslide-hit Puladi township of Gongshan county, Yunnan Province, August 18, 2010. REUTERS/Xinhua/Zhong Zhifang

BEIJING (Reuters) - At least 67 people were missing after mudslides hit a remote southwest Chinese town near Myanmar, state media reported on Wednesday, adding to the thousands killed or missing in floods and landslides this year.

Mudslides triggered by torrential rains hit a township in Gongshan County, located in a mountainous corner of Yunnan province, early on Wednesday morning, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

“The number of casualties is unknown at the moment,” the report said.

Rescuers have been sent to the isolated area, which also lies near Tibet. The Nu River, which flows from the mountains, is swollen from rains that have lifted its water level by up to 6 meters (20 feet), Xinhua added.

Downpours in Zhouqu in the northwestern province of Gansu brought a torrent of mud down this month, burying a large part of the poor and remote town and killing more than 1,200 people.

Storms in neighboring Longnan and in Sichuan province to the south have killed dozens more.

More than 1,000 people have died in floods in central, southern and northeast China so far this year.

Reporting by Huang Yan and Chris Buckley; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Ron Popeski