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China rain storms leave 44 dead in north

The death toll from a massive mudslide triggered by heavy rain and hail in a poor mountainous region of northwestern China has risen to 44.

Hail and downpours batter Gansu province

Rescuers help residents evacuate across a river flowing with muddy water after hail and torrential rains hit Minxian county, Gansu province. (Reuters)

Officials say the death toll from a massive mudslide triggered by heavy rain and hail in a poor mountainous region of northwestern China has risen to 44.

The Civil Affairs Ministry says 26 other people are missing and that power and telecommunications have been disrupted in Minxian, Zhangxian and Weiyuan counties in Gansu province.

The ministry said Sunday that nearly 150,000 people were evacuated and needed emergency assistance as a result of the storm that battered the county on Thursday evening and triggered the mudslide in one of China's poorest regions.

Relief teams have taken blankets and clothing to the area.

The central government says it will provide funds for relief work and rebuilding.

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