China landslide leaves 10 dead, at least 12 missing

Rescue personnel lift out an injured man after a landslide at Pianpo village in China's southwest Guizhou province, on July 1, 2016.
Rescue personnel lift out an injured man after a landslide at Pianpo village in China's southwest Guizhou province, on July 1, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Heavy rain caused a landslide in south-western China on Friday (July 1) that killed at least 10 and left 12 others missing, local officials said.

The landslide hit early morning and buried 29 people in the village of Pianpo, in the province of Guizhou, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the county government.

Seventeen had been pulled from the rubble as of early Friday evening - ten of whom were pronounced dead at the scene, it said.

Rescue efforts were continuing with some 800 soldiers and relief workers on-site, according a statement from the province's civil affairs department on its official social media account.

Pictures posted online showed a deluge of mud had toppled trees and crushed cement buildings, leaving bricks and cinderblocks scattered in heaps of rubble. Rescue workers with hard hats and shovels dug at steep slopes of debris.

Flooding is common during the summer monsoon season in southern China, but rainfall has been particularly heavy this year and many areas have been lashed by torrential rains this week.

China's national observatory issued an orange alert for storms across the country's south and east on Thursday - the second highest warning in a four-tiered system - and told people to take precautions against possible flash floods and landslides, Xinhua said.

As of Friday morning, some 120,000 people in those regions had been displaced by the threat of floods and landslides due to relentless rain, it added, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

More than 3,600 homes have collapsed, and direct economic losses tallied at 3.14 billion yuan (S$633 million), it said.

Whole villages were levelled and at least 98 killed in the eastern province of Jiangsu last week after the region was hit by a storm with hurricane-force winds and the worst tornado in half a century.