At least 18 children died in a landslide that crushed a school in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, it was confirmed on Friday.
The children, all primary school students, were getting ready to take extra classes in spite of the week long national holidays to make up for the days they lost because of an earthquake that shook the region in the first week of September.
The Yiliang area where the landslide occurred was stuck by multiple earthquakes on September 7, which left at least 81 people dead and hundreds injured.
The earthquake had also impacted the terrain around the Yiliang area, leaving it susceptible to landslides. Buildings in the area had also developed cracks.
On Thursday morning, tragedy struck as the students of the Shangba primary school were getting ready for their unscheduled classes.
According to the official news agency Xinhua, three teaching buildings of the school were damaged in the earthquakes early September and demolished later, forcing over 30 students to have lessons at the nearby Tiantou primary school.
The students were preparing classes, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Tiantou School, when the landslide occurred, the report added.
The landslide, estimated to be around 10,000 cubic meters, flattened the primary school building, trapping the 18 students.
Two houses near the school were also hit by the landslide, with one villager being buried. A family of three managed to escape the landslide before it arrived.
Eight-hundred residents have so far been relocated from the area.
Rescuers, according to Xinhua, were continuing to drain water off the barrier lake that was formed as the landslide blocked a nearby river. As of 1 p.m. Friday, the water storage volume in the lake had dropped from 20,000 to 1,000 cubic metres.
The victims' families were each granted 20,000 Yuan (3,160 U.S. dollars) as compensation.