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China pays silent tribute to mudslide victims

By the CNN Wire Staff
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China remembers mudslide victims
  • NEW: The death toll rises slightly to 1,254, with 490 missing
  • Top leaders and rescue workers pause for three minutes to remember victims
  • Large-scale national displays of mourning are rare in China
  • Roads have been cleared in Zhouqu county

Beijing, China (CNN) -- The death toll from the devastating mudslide in China's northwestern Gansu province rose slightly to 1,254 Monday, a day after the country paused for three minutes in memory of those who perished.

Another 490 people are still missing a week after torrential rains triggered the mudslides on July 8, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

At 10 a.m. Sunday, Chinese President Hu Jintao and other top leaders paid a silent tribute ahead of a party meeting.

At the Dongjie Village in hardest-hit Zhouqu county, more than 5,000 rescuers and villagers stood still atop mudslide debris with their heads bowed, Xinhua said.

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Large-scale national displays of mourning are rare in China, though the country designated three days of mourning after a massive 2008 earthquake in Sichuan. The country also had a day of mourning after a quake in Yushu earlier this year.

China has been drenched by heavy rains and floods since the end of May.

More than 400 million people have been affected.

On July 8, heavy rains caused the side of a mountain broke off in the night and tear through remote Zhouqu county, burying some homes and ripping others apart. The path of the mudslide is covered in three to four stories of rock and mud.

By Sunday, crews had cleared out roads, allowing for the delivery of relief supplies. Power has been restored to about 76 percent of homes, and wells have been dug to supply more water, Xinhua said.