At least 42 killed as landslide hits Chinese village
Beijing: At least 42 people, including children, were killed and dozens reported missing in one of China's worst landslides which engulfed an entire village in a mountainous region of Yunnan province, officials said on Friday.
Over 1,000 rescue workers were pressed in to look for survivors in debris of tonnes of mud which enveloped Gaopo Village, Zhenxiong County this morning.
The village is located 550 km northeast of Kunming city, Yunnan's capital.
"The landslide, which brought about several hundred-thousand cubic meters of watery mud to the village, buried all of the houses there and created great difficulties for rescue efforts amid low temperatures," Sun Anfa, the leader of a local rescue team told state-run Xinhua news agency.
Two injured people have been sent to a nearby hospital.
Rescuers were brought in from nearby areas. Five excavators and four front loader trucks were pressed into remove the mud.
Chinese leaders Xi Jinping, Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang have ordered all-out efforts to rescue victims of the landslide in order to minimize casualties from the disaster.
Xi, the newly-elected General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, said efforts must be made to resettle affected residents, prevent secondary disasters and successfully complete relief work so as to ensure stability.
Local civil affairs bureau said according to initial accounts, 46 residents including 27 adults and 19 children of Gaopo Village were buried in the landslide.
The landslide mass has been estimated at 300 metres long, 80 metres wide and 30 metres deep, said authorities with the county government.
The provincial civil affairs department has allocated relief materials such as tents, quilts, food and water to the region, where the temperature has been as low as two degrees Celsius recently.
Zhenxiong County is adjacent to Yiliang County, where 19 people, including 18 primary school students, were killed in a landslide in October.
In September, a series of earthquakes -- with the strongest registering a magnitude of 5.7 -- struck the region, leaving at least 81 people dead in Yiliang.
Provincial and local meteorological authorities have initiated an emergency response mechanism for major natural disasters.