Thousands of residents and rescuers in Zhouqu, the remote mountain region in Gansu province flattened by last weekend’s landslides, stopped search efforts to take part in a ceremony to remember the victims, state television said.
Sirens wailed as mourners, wearing white paper flowers and some still clutching their shovels, observed a three-minute silence at 10:00 am.
Rescuers and medics later resumed their duties, clearing debris from the swollen Bailong River, searching for bodies buried under sludge and spraying disinfectant to prevent a disease outbreak, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Authorities said 496 people in Zhouqu were still missing after the avalanche of mud and rocks last Saturday night, which levelled an area five kilometres (three miles) long and 300 metres wide, Xinhua said.
The official death toll rose to 1,248 on Sunday from the previously reported 1,239.
Authorities are struggling to keep up with demand for coffins in the devastated region, whose population is one-third Tibetan, the China Daily said.[source: http://news.malaysia.msn.com/photogallery.aspx?cp-documentid=4276623]