BEIJING: More than 100 people were feared dead after a massive landslide smashed into a village in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on Saturday.
The landslide from a mountain in Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba hit Xinmo village at 6 am. Officials said 62 homes were buried at a time when most residents, including women and children, were sleeping.
At least 15 bodies were pulled from the rubble, official Xinhua news agency reported. The only survivors found till late on Saturday were a couple and their month-old baby.
The local government said 112 people were still missing. State media had earlier reported that 141 people could not be reached.
Officials said the landslide was triggered by heavy rains, and a lack of vegetation in the region worsened the situation. Pictures showed the site entirely covered by mud, rocks and rubble.
“The provincial government has launched the highest level of disaster relief response and sent rescue teams to the site, where more than 300 workers with excavators and life-detection instruments are engaged in the search for survivors,” Tang Limin, the Sichuan provincial government spokesperson, told Xinhua .
MORE RAIN FORECAST
China’s national weather observatory continued a yellow alert for rainstorms on Saturday, as heavy rain is expected across the country over the next few days.
“On Saturday and Sunday, heavy rain is expected in parts of Sichuan, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Yunnan, Zhejiang and Jiangxi,” the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said .