Death toll rises to 17 in China landslide

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-30 00:18:24|Editor: yan
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Photo taken on Aug. 28, 2018 shows the site of the landslide in Zhangjiawan Township of Nayong County in southwest China's Guizhou Province.  (Xinhua/Tao Liang)

GUIYANG, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Peng Dajun, resident of Nayong county in southwest China's Guizhou Province, has not yet recovered from the powerful landslide Monday morning.

"I ran outdoors when I heard the sound of falling rocks and felt strong tremors. My house was leveled to the ground before I looked back," he recalled.

The landslide has left 17 people dead, eight injured as of Tuesday afternoon, with 18 still missing, local authorities said. Peng's wife is among the victims.

The landslide occurred at about 10:40 a.m. Monday in Zhangjiawan Township, affecting 34 households. More than 600,000 cubic meters of rock and mud fell 200 meters and hit a village.

"I was about to start cooking when I heard a big bang and saw mud flying around and trees down, I was very frightened," said 49 year-old villager Zhang Faqun, whose house would have been destroyed had it been 10 meters closer to the mountain.

The landslide area is over 5,000 square meters, and falling rocks and the rain have added the difficulty of the rescue operation.

Over 2,000 people, including police, firefighters and medical staff are at the scene. More than 90 emergency vehicles, 20 life detectors, 17 diggers and eight drones were used in the rescue operation.

"It has been over 30 hours and I still have not slept," said local official Li Wei, who has four of his family buried under the mud.

He has been involved in the rescue work from the beginning and is visiting residents to confirm the identities of the victims.

The provincial, city and county governments have allocated 2.5 million yuan (379,100 U.S. dollars) as relief fund. The governments have also sent relief, including tents, quilts and rice. A total of 195 people have been evacuated.

On Tuesday, a landslide hit a village in neighboring Yunnan Province, leaving three people dead and five injured, authorities said.

The landslide occurred at 9:45 a.m. in Yingpan village in the city of Zhaotong.

Guizhou and Yunnan have seen continuous rainstorms over the past week as a result of recent typhoons.