The death toll from a landslide that struck southwest China's mountainous Yunnan province has climbed to 31, with scores of others still missing, local authorities said on Tuesday.Update January 25
Thirty-one people were confirmed dead after a landslide struck a village in Zhenxiong County, southwest China's Yunnan Province, on Monday, state-run CGTN reported quoting local authorities.
The landslide occurred in Liangshui village in Zhaotong city on Monday morning, trapping a total of 47 people. Situated in the cold mountainous region of the province, where snow persists for days, the rescue site remains covered in a thick layer of snow.
More than 1,000 rescue workers equipped with 45 rescue dogs and 120 vehicles, including excavators, loaders and transport vehicles, were carrying out search and rescue work at the site.
As many as 33 firefighting vehicles and 10 loading machines were also mobilised to search for the missing.
The government has also deployed the military and militias for the rescue operation. A total of 104 militia members in Zhenxiong County were also mobilised.
The Ministry of Emergency Management upgraded the emergency response level to the second-highest level from the Level-3 emergency response for disaster relief activated by the Provincial Commission for Disaster Reduction immediately after the landslide.
The ministry dispatched teams to the disaster-hit area to guide the rescue and relief work, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
The Chinese government has allocated funds totalling 50 million yuan (about USD 7 million) to support disaster relief and emergency rescue work focusing on search and rescue, the relocation of affected people, secondary disaster detection, the repair of damaged homes, and other areas, the report said.
Preliminary investigation by an expert group determined that the landslide was triggered by the collapse of a steep cliff-top area, said Wu Junyao, Director of the Natural Resources and Planning Bureau of Zhaotong.
The collapsed mass was approximately 100 metres wide and 60 metres tall, with an average thickness of around 6 metres, the report quoted him as saying.
Following the disaster, local authorities are also assisting those affected, ensuring proper support and settlement measures are in place.
Over 200 tents, 400 quilts, 600 cotton coats and 14 sets of emergency lighting equipment were provided for those affected. A total of 213 residents have also been evacuated to safer locations.
The rescue officials outlined the primary search area through a comparative analysis of images before and after the disaster, determining the locations of the buried houses, the report said.
"According to the arrangements of shifts by the headquarters, the search and rescue efforts persist through the night," said firefighter Li Shenglong.
Numerous residents from nearby villages also rushed to the scene to provide support, the report said.
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered an all-out search and rescue of the people missing in the landslide.
"(We should) promptly organise rescue teams, make all-out efforts to search for missing individuals, and minimise casualties to the greatest extent possible," Xi said.
The bodies of the remaining victims of a landslide in southwestern China were recovered Thursday, bringing the death toll to 44 after four days of searching through the rubble of dirt and crumbled homes, state media said.
The final body was found in the evening, according to state broadcaster CCTV, which posted photos of excavators and teams of searchers in orange uniforms and helmets, part of a contingent of more than 1,000 rescuers.
The landslide slammed into houses at the foot of a slope early Monday morning in Liangshui, a village in a remote and mountainous part of Yunnan province. It left a barren swath on the slope after hitting the village, which sits between snow-covered, terraced fields.
Two survivors were found on Monday.
A preliminary investigation found that the landslide had been triggered by the collapse of a steep clifftop area, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. It did not elaborate on the cause of the initial collapse.
Rescuers struggled with snow, icy roads and freezing temperatures. The area is about 2,250 kilometers (1,400 miles) southwest of Beijing, the Chinese capital, with altitudes ranging up to 2,400 meters (7,900 feet).