Dozens buried in Yunnan landslide amid snow and cold

Dozens buried in Yunnan landslide amid snow and cold

A massive landslide hit a village in southwestern China’s Yunnan province early Monday morning, burying 47 people and forcing the evacuation of 200 more. The rescue efforts are still ongoing as the weather conditions pose challenges for the workers and the survivors.

The disaster struck before dawn

The landslide occurred just before 6 a.m. in the village of Liangshui, under the town of Tangfang in Zhenxiong County. According to the county publicity department, 18 houses were buried by the debris, trapping 47 people inside. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

The cause of the landslide is not yet clear, but some local residents said they heard a loud noise and felt the ground shaking before the disaster. The village is located in a mountainous area that is prone to geological hazards. The region has also been experiencing heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures in recent days, which may have contributed to the instability of the soil.

Rescue efforts face difficulties

More than 1,000 rescuers, including firefighters, police, soldiers, and medical staff, have been dispatched to the scene to search for the missing people and assist the survivors. They are using excavators, drones, sniffer dogs, and thermal imaging cameras to locate the victims under the rubble.

Dozens buried in Yunnan landslide amid snow and cold

However, the rescue work is hampered by the harsh weather and the complex terrain. The snow and the cold have made the operation more difficult and dangerous, as well as increased the risk of hypothermia and frostbite for the rescuers and the survivors. The road to the village is also narrow and slippery, making it hard for the vehicles and the equipment to reach the site.

Survivors relocated to a school

The local authorities have set up a temporary shelter at a nearby school, where more than 200 people have been relocated. They have been provided with food, water, blankets, and heating facilities. Some of the survivors said they were sleeping when the landslide struck, and they were woken up by their relatives or neighbors who warned them to escape.

Luo Dongmei, 35, was one of the lucky ones who managed to get out of her house with her husband and three children. She said she was still waiting for news about her sister and aunt, who lived closer to the landslide area. “The only thing I can do is to wait,” she said.

Landslides are common in China

Landslides are not uncommon in China, especially in the rainy season or after earthquakes. They are often caused by natural factors, such as heavy rain, snow, or seismic activity, or by human factors, such as deforestation, mining, or construction. They can cause significant damage to lives, property, and infrastructure.

Last year, at least 70 people were killed in landslides across China, including more than 50 at an open pit mine in the Inner Mongolia region. In 2021, 14 workers were killed when a tunnel under construction was flooded by a landslide. In 2017, a massive landslide in Sichuan province killed more than 120 people and buried an entire village.

The landslide in Yunnan also came just over a month after China’s most powerful earthquake in years struck the northwest in a remote region between Gansu and Qinghai province. The 6.2-magnitude quake killed at least 149 people, injured nearly 1,000, and destroyed more than 14,000 homes. It also triggered heavy mudslides that inundated two villages in Qinghai province.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *