Survivor located in devastated village in Valais

Nearly a third of Gondo village was wiped out by the floods Keystone

Rescue workers in flood-stricken canton Valais have been trying to reach a woman trapped by mudslides, who has been calling for help. A body has also been recovered following two days of torrential rains, which have ravaged much of the canton.

This content was published on October 16, 2000 - 15:06

Police said rescuers with sniffer dogs located the woman under two metres of debris, after the search resumed on Monday in the mountain village of Gondo, which was devastated by a mudslide two days ago.

Her discovery has rekindled hopes that some of the 13 people missing from Gondo may still be alive.

The woman was located shortly after rescuers discovered a body buried under rubble.

It was the second confirmed death so far. On Sunday, the first fatality of the flooding was found in a car caught in a mudslide near Martigny on the road leading to the Great St-Bernard pass.

As many as 15 people are still missing throughout the canton.

Valais remains on a state of high alert. Several towns remain cut off, including the mountain resort of Zermatt. "We expect the links to Zermatt to be restored in two or three days" a tourism official told swissinfo.

By Monday the persistent rains, which caused widespread floods and mudslides over the weekend, had eased.

The Rhone river, which runs through the valley's biggest towns, was also reported to be dropping on Monday. It has fallen by up to a metre in one of the worst affected towns, Brig.

Road and rail links into canton Valais were cut for much of Sunday, but some services were being restored on Monday. In several parts of the canton, telephone links were still cut.

More rain has fallen in the past few days than is normal for the entire month of October, officials said.

Other parts of Switzerland have also been hit by heavy rains. The town of Locarno, in Italian-speaking canton Ticino, is partly under water after Lake Maggiore burst its banks.

The lake has surpassed its record height, recorded in 1993. Local officials said it was expected to rise further.

The Piazza Grande, in the centre of Locarno, is under water. Firefighters have been placed on a state of alert.

High waters were also reported in parts of the Bernese Oberland.

swissinfo with agencies

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