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Hu, Wen Urge All-out Efforts in Rescue Work of N China Mud-rock Flow

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have urged all-out efforts in rescue operations following Monday's rain-triggered mud-rock flow in north China's Shanxi Province.

The accident has led to a death toll of 128 by Wednesday, with another 35 injured. The number of people trapped underneath the rubble is still under investigation, local rescue headquarters said.

Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao have ordered dealing with the aftermath of the accident seriously, and conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident.

Those responsible for the accident should be dealt with in accordance with laws, and the nation should learn from the tragedy to enhance production safety, they said.

State Councilor and secretary-general of the State Council Ma Kai has gone to the accident scene to direct rescue work and visit those affected.

A team made up of officials from the Ministry of Land and Resources, State Administration of Work Safety, Ministry of Supervision, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the All China Federation of Trade Unions has started investigation into the cause of the accident.

The accident occurred around 8 a.m. on Monday in a pond holding waste ore dregs of the Tashan Mine in Xiangfen County, Linfen City, which was soaked by torrential rain.

An initial investigation revealed the accident's cause was "the unlicensed Tashan mine operated illegally and the stored waste iron ore dregs had surpassed the capacity of the holding pond," said the rescue headquarters.

(Xinhua News Agency September 11, 2008)

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