Flood-sparked landslide kills 16 in China

An aerial view shows rescuers searching for survivors among debris at the site of a landslide in Zhejian provine, China.
An aerial view shows rescuers searching for survivors among debris at the site of a landslide in Zhejian provine, China.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - A landslide that engulfed homes in China killed at least 16 people, with 21 still missing, as heavy rains brought misery across a swathe of the country.

Photos posted on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, showed rescue teams working through the night as they attempted to pull people from mud and rock that had buried 27 houses in Zhejiang province.

More than 300 people were evacuated after the landslide, with 21 additional homes flooded in the wake of the disaster, which struck on Friday evening, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Meanwhile, the central province of Hunan was hit by the worst winter flooding in more than 50 years, the official Xinhua news agency reported, forcing thousands to flee.

About 8,200 people were resettled after their homes were destroyed in the flooding, according to Xinhua, with more than 87,000 people affected by the waters, which caused blackouts and road closures.

The flooding, which has also damaged crops, was the worst since record keeping began in 1961, provincial weather authorities said.

No casualties have been reported so far.

Floods are likely to continue, with heavy rains expected through Wednesday, Xinhua said.

Photos circulating online showed rescue personnel driving boats through village streets and helping residents escape through their windows.

Waters were more than 3 metres over the alert level on Friday, Xinhua said.