Villagers hit by landslide worry about recovery efforts

Residents of China's Sichuan province grieve for their loved ones as 93 people are still missing after a landslide swept down a mountain in the quake-prone region.
Villagers burning incense and paper money yesterday to mourn their dead relatives at the site of a landslide in Xinmo, Mao county, Sichuan province. At least 93 people remain missing, along with 10 confirmed dead after last Saturday's landslide flatt
Villagers burning incense and paper money yesterday to mourn their dead relatives at the site of a landslide in Xinmo, Mao county, Sichuan province. At least 93 people remain missing, along with 10 confirmed dead after last Saturday's landslide flattened the village.PHOTO: REUTERS

MAO COUNTY (Sichuan) • Frustration grew yesterday among family members of victims of a landslide that buried a village in south-western China, with some complaining about a lack of information and asking why they had not been moved from an area prone to land slips.

At least 93 people remain missing, along with 10 confirmed dead after a landslide flattened the village of Xinmo, in mountainous Sichuan province, last Saturday.

The government has sent in 3,000 rescuers, along with equipment, and has promised to do all it can to look for survivors while restricting access for safety reasons.

The government of Mao county, where the village is located, yesterday posted drone video footage showing mechanical diggers in a vast landscape of rubble.

About 100 family members met government officials, saying they wanted to go back home, were concerned about the rebuilding process and whether it would be done by winter, and what would happened to children orphaned.

"These government officials have been lying to us these past three days," a middle-aged man from Xinmo village who has several relatives buried, told Reuters, declining to give his name. "They told us we could go back yesterday morning but they kept delaying and delaying giving us all kinds of excuses."

 
 

Another relative said the government should have moved them out of an area prone to landslides.

The China Daily newspaper cited disaster expert Xu Qiang, of the Ministry of Land and Resources, as saying large-scale relocations in the area were difficult.

"Many villagers have been living here for generations and seen no major geological disasters."

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have written to China's President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang respectively to convey their condolences on the disaster, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

"I wish those injured a speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with China and its people during this difficult time," President Tan wrote to President Xi .

Mr Lee said he was deeply saddened to learn of the devastation

"I am confident that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and yourself, the Chinese government authorities are doing their best in the search and rescue efforts, and those affected will be able to recover from this disaster," he wrote to Mr Li.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2017, with the headline 'Villagers hit by landslide worry about recovery efforts'. Print Edition | Subscribe