Landslide in China: 141 dead, more than 40 homes buried | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Landslide in China: 141 dead, more than 40 homes buried

The landslide took place in Xinmo village of Mao county in Sichuan province.

world Updated: Jun 24, 2017 18:36 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
People search for survivors at the site of a landslide that destroyed some 40 households, where more than 100 people are feared to be buried in Xinmo village in Sichuan province.
People search for survivors at the site of a landslide that destroyed some 40 households, where more than 100 people are feared to be buried in Xinmo village in Sichuan province.(Reuters Photo)

At least 141 people were buried alive by a massive landslide that smashed into a village in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on Saturday.

The landslide from a mountain in Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba hit Xinmo village at 6 am, blocking a two-kilometre section of river and burying 1,600 metres of road.

Officials said 46 homes were buried by the landslide at a time when most residents, women and children among them, were sleeping.

They said the landslide was triggered by heavy rains, and a lack of vegetation in the region worsened the situation. Pictures showed the site entirely covered by mud, rocks and rubble. Bulldozers were being used to clear the rubble.

The landslide that hit Xinmo village on June 24, 2017. (Photo courtesy: maoxian.gov.cn)

More than 500 rescuers were dispatched to the site with 23 sniffer dogs and 16 life detectors, state media reported. A couple and a baby were rescued by workers till late on Saturday afternoon.

“The provincial government has launched the highest level of disaster relief response and sent rescue teams to the site, where more than 300 workers with excavators and life-detection instruments are engaged in the search for survivors,” Tang Limin, spokesperson for the Sichuan provincial government, told official Xinhua news agency.

Some 130 traffic police personnel were stationed along roads and highways linking the provincial capital of Chengdu to the landslide site, more than 400 km away, serving as a lifeline for rescue and disaster relief.

People search for survivors at the site of a landslide that destroyed some 40 households in Xinmo village of Sichuan province in China on June 24, 2017. (Reuters)

The provincial government also approved 5 million yuan ($730,000) for relief work and sent emergency supplies to the site.

According to Xinhua, power supply to Xinmo was cut off but had been resumed at other villages in the area.

Emergency personnel and earthmoving equipment work at the site of the massive landslide in Xinmo village in China's Sichuan province on June 24, 2017. (AP)

More rain forecast

China’s national weather observatory continued a yellow alert for rainstorms on Saturday, as heavy rain is expected across the country over the next few days.

“On Saturday and Sunday, heavy rain is expected in parts of Sichuan, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Yunnan, Zhejiang and Jiangxi,” the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said in a statement.

Precipitation will be up to 200 mm and some of these areas may see hail or thunderstorms, the NMC said.

“The center warned local authorities to reduce outdoor activities and take precautions against strong winds, flooding and geological disasters,” the statement added.

China has a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system, with red the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

This photo released by China's Xinhua news agency shows vehicles and people lining a road leading to the site of the landslide in Xinmo village in China's Sichuan province on Saturday. (AP)

Past disasters

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly during heavy rains.

At least 12 people were killed in January when a landslide crushed a hotel in central Hubei province. In October, landslides battered eastern China in the wake of torrential rains brought by Typhoon Megi, causing widespread damage and killing at least eight.

More than 70 were killed by a landslide in the southern commercial hub of Shenzhen in December 2015, caused by the improper storage of waste.

One of the deadliest landslides took place in 1991, when 216 were killed in southwestern Yunnan province.

(With inputs from agencies)