Beijing: The death toll in a massive
landslide in north China rose to 23 today, as rescuers battled
through the night to clear debris in an apparently fruitless
search for survivors, state media reported.
The landslide occurred early yesterday in Shanxi
province`s Zhongyang county, engulfing six makeshift homes
where the families of migrant coal miners were living, state
news agency Xinhua said.
Reports initially said three people were killed and 20
missing, but the toll steadily went up as more than 300 rescue
workers uncovered body after body through the night, it said.
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the
landslide, which occurred near the mine where the workers were
Shanxi is the centre of China`s coal mining industry,
which is notorious for its poor safety record.
Official figures show that more than 3,200 workers died
in collieries last year, but independent labour groups say the
actual figure could be much higher because many accidents are
covered up to avoid costly mine shutdowns.