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China: Landslide rescue efforts underway in freezing cold

January 23, 2024

Rescue teams sifted through the rubble of destroyed homes to search for survivors of a landslide that has killed at least 11 people in southwestern Yunnan province.

Rescue teams, seen here in the aftermath of a landslide in Yunnan province, are faced with the added obstacle of icy roads amid extreme cold temperatures
Rescue teams are faced with the added obstacle of icy roads amid extreme cold temperaturesImage: Zhou Lei/Xinhua/picture alliance

At least 11 people have died in a landslide that struck a remote mountainous area in southwestern China, authorities said on Tuesday.

At least two survivors were rescued, authorities added. The landslide in Yunnan province early Monday buried some 47 people, according to authorities.

Rescue missions operate in freezing cold

Rescue teams were working in freezing temperatures to find victims buried in some 18 homes, local officials said. Around 500 people were evacuated from the area.

Rescuers worked through the night sifting deep mounds of earth at the site of the landslide in Zhenxiong County, state-run China Central Television reported.

Search teams struggled with snow, icy roads and extreme cold temperatures that were forecast to persist for at least the next three days.

Unstable soil also impeded the rescue efforts as large machines could not be used, one rescuer told local media.

State news agency Xinhua said citing a preliminary investigation the landslide was triggered by the collapse of a steep cliff-top area.

Earthquake strikes western Xinjiang

Separately, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck a sparsely populated part of China's western Xinjiang region early Tuesday.

At least six people were injured in the earthquake and more than 120 homes were damaged or collapsed, authorities said.

The quake rocked Uchturpan county, also known as Wushi county in Mandarin, in Aksu prefecture shortly after 2 a.m. (1900 GMT), the China Earthquake Networks Center said.

Around 200 rescuers were dispatched to the epicenter, with teams once again braving very cold temperatures.

rm/ab (AP, Reuters)