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China: Landslide kills several people, dozens more missing

January 22, 2024

At least eight people have been killed after a pre-dawn landslide buried homes in the southwest province of Yunnan. A rescue operation is ongoing.

Rescue workers at work after a landslide in China
Emergency workers are working amid freezing temperatures to rescue the people buried under debrisImage: Zhou Lei/Xinhua/picture alliance

Authorities in China's Yunnan province have reported that 47 people are missing after a landslide struck two villages near the city of Zhaotong early Monday morning, according to state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

Eight people were found dead in the rubble CCTV said, citing a reporter on the scene. More than 200 people have been evacuated

The cause of the landslide was not immediately clear. Yunnan, a mountainous region prone to landslides, has experienced freezing temperatures and snowfall over the past day. 

"The mountain just collapsed, dozens were buried," a man surnamed Gu, who witnessed the landslide, told local media. 

Rescue operation underway

Authorities have started rescue operations, with over 200 rescue workers and additionally deployed fire engines and other equipment combing through the rubble, according to CCTV.

Rescuers are digging up the rubble of the collapsed houses and searching for survivors amid the freezing temperatures and light snowfall in Yunnan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has "demanded that rescue forces are organized quickly... and efforts made to reduce casualties as far as possible," CCTV reported. 

Natural disasters in China

Yunnan experiences landslides on a regular basis. Its steep mountains butt against the Himalayan plateau. 

But other parts of the country have also seen deadly landslides, caused in part by extreme weather. In September, seven people died in the Guangxi region, while landslides in Xi'an in August and Sichuan province in June killed 20 and 19 people respectively.

mfi/wmr (AP, AFP, Reuters)