Wednesday, 10 July 2013

China Sichuan landslide 'buries up to 40 people'

A landslide has buried between 30 and 40 people in China's Sichuan province, state media say.

The landslide occurred in Zhongxing town on Wednesday morning. More than 100 rescuers with rescue dogs were at the scene, Xinhua news agency said.

The landslide followed days of torrential rain across parts of China that has caused floods in some areas.

On Tuesday, a bridge in Sichuan's Jiangyou collapsed, with at least 12 people missing.

Footage from Chinese state media, meanwhile, showed the dramatic rescue of a Deyang factory worker, who was stranded by the floods after the factory was washed away.

"The water level is so high that vehicles, forklifts and excavators have all been washed away," Wei Xiao, another factory worker, told Reuters news agency.


Zhongxing is in Dujiangyan city, one of the places badly hit by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

The landslide, which spanned around two square kilometres, damaged at least 11 homes, Xinhua reported.

"So far we only know 11 families were buried and more than 200 residents have been evacuated," a local official told AFP news agency.

Patrol members in Dujiangyan told local media that by the time they arrived at the scene, a few hours after the landslide, "everything was already a vast expanse of water".

Eyewitnesses described seeing stones and debris running down the hill, covering around eight holiday homes in less than three minutes, local media reported.

Meanwhile, rescue teams had been deployed in Jiangyou to search for those missing after Qinglian bridge collapsed, state media said.

At least six vehicles were reported to have plunged into the river when it came down after days of heavy rain.

Jiangyou's local government said that the river volume had suddenly increased to a 50-year high on Tuesday.

"The high levels of flood sediment, and strong and destructive force of the water, caused the Qinglian bridge to collapse," it said.

Two other bridges, one in Jiangyou and one in Deyang city, were also washed away, officials said.

Chinese officials said that the heavy rain had affected more than 508,000 people in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, damaged around 300 homes, and forced the evacuation of 36,800 people, Xinhua reported.

For the worst affected areas, it appears that there is going to be little respite, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing.

Heavy rainfall is forecast in Sichuan province over the next 24 hours, our correspondent adds.

In 2011, over five million people were reported to be affected by deadly floods in eastern China.

In 2008, Sichuan was hit by a devastating earthquake which led to almost 90,000 people dead or missing.

Wednesday 10 July 2013


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