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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Quake, Floods Claim Scores of Lives


Rescue teams on three continents picked up the pieces and searched for survivors Thursday after an earthquake in Venezuela, a mudslide in Japan and peaking floods in China and Eastern Europe together left scores dead and hundreds injured.

In the most devastating incident, Venezuela's worst earthquake in 30 years flattened offices and schools in the northeast Wednesday afternoon, crushing children in their classrooms and workers in their offices.

Officials counted 46 dead and 280 injured Thursday and estimated that at least 500 families were left homeless.

On Japan's main southern island of Kyushu, a mudslide triggered by torrential rains early Thursday leveled 16 houses in Izumi, killing 19 people.

Rain also kept floodwaters high in southern China's Guangdong province, where at least 56 people have died after a week of ceaseless downpours, with damage estimated so far at $220 million.

In Eastern Europe, the confirmed death toll reached 32 on Thursday in the worst flooding in decades in the Czech Republic and Poland, but the rain appeared finally to be ceasing.


Rescue workers picked through the rubble of a school and an office building in northeastern Venezuela on Thursday, desperately trying to save dozens of people buried in an earthquake.

The country's worst earthquake in 30 years -- with a magnitude of 6.9 -- struck at 3:25 p.m. Wednesday and sent thousands of people fleeing from homes, restaurants and office buildings.

About 250 people have been rescued, most with minor injuries, according to Civil Defense officer Jaime Marquez.

But dozens more remained buried under huge piles of concrete and twisted metal at the school in the village of Cariaco and at an office tower in Cumana, the capital of Sucre state, 550 kilometers east of Caracas.


Tons of mud and rocks swept over the city of Izumi in southern Japan on Thursday, killing 19 people when the side of a mountain loosened by recent earthquakes collapsed in torrential rain.

Two girls were missing and 15 people were hospitalized after a fearsome midnight landslide buried homes roof-high in mud, rocks and trees.

Nearly 1,000 rescuers, including soldiers, dug with bare hands through debris in the city in Kagoshima Prefecture on southern Kyushu island, 985 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. A police spokesman said the rescuers gave up their efforts to search for the two missing girls because of fear of another landslide.


In southern China, a week of nearly ceaseless rain has swollen tributaries of the Pearl River in Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, and in neighboring Guangxi.

Flooding has claimed 56 lives, damaged or toppled thousands of buildings and cut roads, water and electrical service in some areas, said an official with Guangdong's provincial flood control bureau who refused to give his name.

Floodwaters in Guangxi's West River killed 15 people and destroyed some 20,000 homes.


In Poland and the Czech Republic, the rain appeared finally to be ending Thursday as the confirmed death toll reached 32.

On the Polish side of the border, Krakow appeared safe, but the major towns of Opole and Wroclaw were in danger. In Opole, water was reaching first floors by Thursday afternoon, and radio reported that Wroclaw officials decided to break dams and try to divert water away from the town center.

In the Czech Republic, thousands of people from the town of Otrokovice, about 300 kilometers southeast of Prague, were being evacuated to the nearby town of Zlin. ()