(RepublicanView.org) – Forty-four people have been declared dead in China after a significant landslide buried a Chinese village located in the high elevations of the Yunnan province’s mountains.
Hundreds more residents were evacuated as the landslide occurred early in the morning in Liangshui village in Zhenxiong County on January 22. Officials reported many people after the disaster instantly buried several homes. The death toll has risen significantly in recent days, though state media put the death toll at 44 on January 25.
Photos taken of the landslide show heavy snow, but the cause has not been confirmed. However, officials said it began at a steep clip nestled high in the mountain. The county is currently suffering from an unusual wave of cold weather that has plunged much of the region into subzero temperatures. Firefighters and other rescuers could be seen working as light snowfall continued.
Over 1,000 first responders were sent to the disaster area. Zhang Guoqing, a vice premier, was appointed to lead the rescue operation. The government sent 45 rescue dogs to assist first responders. Thousands of citizens also traveled from a nearby village to assist rescue efforts. Vital supplies have been sent to the area to help victims.
Rescuers continued working overnight on January 23 as temperatures plummeted. One responder said that large machines could not be used in the area since the terrain remained unstable. He warned that the heavy weight could cause more landslides and injure more people. That means that light machinery and manual labor had to be used to dig up entire homes and search for villagers buried deep under the freezing soil.
According to Reuters, one witness told CCTV the “mountain just collapsed” and instantly buried dozens of people as they slept. He also said that four of his relatives are missing.
The landslide comes after China suffered its strongest earthquake in ten years just last month. That disaster also triggered several mudslides and leveled 14,000 homes. Over 1,000 people were injured.
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