27 missing as massive landslide hits China's Shenzhen

Regarded as one of China's worst urban disasters, 14 people were pulled out of the mountain of mud that engulfed vast area of the new industrial park in south China that borders Hong Kong.

PTI| Updated: Dec 20, 2015, 21:01 PM IST

Beijing: At least 27 people including six women and three children were missing on Sunday when hundreds of tonnes of mud from a crumbling mountain crushed 22 buildings in an industrial park in Shenzhen, one of China's most developed cities.

Regarded as one of China's worst urban disasters, 14 people were pulled out of the mountain of mud that engulfed vast area of the new industrial park in south China that borders Hong Kong.

More than 1,500 people including firemen, police and health workers are involved in the rescue operations, searching the debris for any trapped victims.

The missing included a family of grand father and three children, the youngest nine-years-old and the oldest three years, state-run CCTV reported.

Videos on China's social media showed vast amounts of red mud pouring into the city with huge noise around 11 am engulfing building after building.

The mud slide slowed down as it approached the main area of the estate providing time for many people to escape bringing down the casualties.

By 5 pm local time, rescuers have evacuated more than 900 residents from the site.

An area of 20,000 square metres was covered with soil, according to the Ministry of Public Security's firefighting bureau.

It rained in Shenzhen today and roads at the scene were muddy, the city's Daily Sunshine reported.

The 22 buildings buried in the landslide included two workers' dormitories. A residential area was also situated beside the industrial park.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have ordered immediate rescue efforts saying that no efforts should be spared to save lives.

Xi ordered Guangdong and Shenzhen authorities to do everything possible to minimise casualties, treat the injured and comfort the family members of the victims, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

He also said scientific rescue efforts are needed to prevent further damages.

Ren Jiguang, deputy chief of Shenzhen's public security bureau, told the TV station that most people were moved to safety before the disaster hit, but that they could not be sure no one had been buried in the landslide.

The Beijing Youth Daily, citing a local resident, reported that the loose soil in the landslide had been dug up in construction work over the past two years and piled up against a 100-metre-high hill.

State media carried photos of partially collapsed buildings which, rescuers said, were housing 15 companies.

Last month, a landslide triggered by flooding in China killed 38 people in the eastern province of Zhejiang. An avalanche of mud and rock caused by torrential rains engulfed 27 homes.

Earlier the same month, at least five persons were killed in a landslide on a mountain caused by explosion in the northeast.