BEIJING (AFP) – Rescuers searching for 93 people missing following a huge landslide in south-west China were ordered to evacuate Monday (June 26) due to the risk of another collapse, state media reported.
Thousands of emergency workers have been digging through rocks and earth since Saturday when a landslide entombed 62 homes in Xinmo, a mountain village in Sichuan province.
At least 10 people have been confirmed dead and 93 are still missing after heavy rain brought down a side of the mountain. Only three survivors – a couple and their one-month-old baby – have been found.
The onslaught of rocks struck the once-picturesque village in the early morning when most people would have been inside their homes.
Some 3,000 workers were taking part in the search, while excavators and bulldozers were being used to clear debris at the base of the slope.
The Sichuan provincial work safety bureau ordered rescue workers to be evacuated from the disaster zone on Monday morning after monitoring equipment picked up “moving and deformation of the hillside”, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Xinhua said there were “risks of a secondary landslide”. Geological monitoring was continuing, the Maoxian county government said on its Weibo account.
Saturday’s landslide blocked a 2km stretch of river and 1.6km of road. Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly at times of heavy rains.
At least 12 people were killed in January when a landslide crushed a hotel in the central province of Hubei. More than 70 were killed in the southern commercial hub of Shenzhen in December 2015, by a landslide caused by the improper storage of waste.