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Asian rescue teams battle massive flooding

Rescuers in three countries across Asia struggled to reach survivors from massive flooding that afflicted millions of people, as the death toll climbed in a remote Chinese town where hundreds died and more than 1,100 were missing from landslides.

In Pakistan, the United Nations said the government’s estimate of 13.8M people affected by the country’s worst-ever floods exceeded the combined total of three recent disasters - the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Rescuers in mountainous Indian-controlled Kashmir raced to save dozens of stranded foreign trekkers and find 500 people still missing in flash floods that killed 140.

In China, the death toll jumped to 337 late yesterday after Sunday’s landslides in the north-western province of Gansu - the deadliest incident so far in the country’s worst flooding in a decade.

A debris-blocked swollen river burst, swamping entire mountain villages in the county seat of Zhouqu and ripping homes from their foundations.

The government said 1,148 were missing. About 45,000 were evacuated. It was not known how many of the missing were in danger or simply out of contact as workers rushed to restore communications in the area, where one-third of residents are ethnic Tibetan.

More rain is expected in the region over the next three days, the China Meteorological Administration said.

“We were dumbfounded by the enormity of the flood situation when we got to the scene,” said Chen Junfeng, a disinfection specialist whose army battalion was the first on the scene.

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