China 'races against time' to find survivors of devastating landslide

Chinese military police and rescue workers searching for missing victims at a landslide site in Liangshui village in Zhaotong, in southwestern China's Yunnan province. (Photo/AFP)

Rescuers are racing to find dozens of people still trapped after a landslide struck a remote and mountainous part of southwestern China, killing 11.

The pre-dawn landslide buried 18 homes and sparked the evacuation of more than 200 people when it struck in Zhenxiong County, Yunnan province, early on Monday.

State news agency Xinhua said on Tuesday that rescue workers are now in a "race against time" to find those missing after a night of sub-zero temperatures.

"Search and rescue efforts persisted through the night," firefighter Li Shenglong told Xinhua.

The agency quoted Wu Junyao, director of the natural resources and planning bureau of Zhaotong, as saying the disaster "resulted from a collapse in the steep cliff area atop the slope".

Two hundred rescue workers have been dispatched to the scene, as well as dozens of fire engines and other equipment.

The rescue site is covered in thick snow, and rescuers are "using all kinds of tools to search for survivors", Xinhua reported.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered "all-out" rescue efforts.

Monday's disaster occurred in a rural area surrounded by towering peaks dusted with snow, state media footage showed.

There was no immediate official explanation for what may have caused the landslide. Efforts to establish what happened are under way, Xinhua reported.

Chain of natural disasters

Landslides are common in Yunnan, a far-flung and largely impoverished region of China where steep mountain ranges butt against the Himalayan plateau.

China has experienced a string of natural disasters in recent months, some following extreme weather events such as sudden, heavy downpours.

Rainstorms last September in the southern region of Guangxi triggered a mountain landslide that killed at least seven people, according to media reports.

In August, heavy rains sparked a similar disaster near the northern city of Xi'an, killing more than 20 people.

Last month, China saw the most powerful earthquake in years, which struck the northwest in a remote region between Gansu and Qinghai province. At least 149 people were killed in the magnitude 6.2 temblor that struck on December 18, reducing homes to rubble and triggering heavy mudslides that inundated two villages in Qinghai province.

Nearly 1,000 people were injured, and more than 14,000 homes were destroyed in what was China's deadliest earthquake in nine years.


Source: TRT