China: At Least 8 Dead, 40 Missing in Yunnan Landslide

A landslide hit the mountainous and remote region of Yunnan province in southwestern China, leaving at least eight people dead and 40 still missing. The disaster occurred in the early hours of Monday, January 22, 2024, in the village of Liangshui, beneath the town of Tangfang in Zhenxiong County.

China: At Least 8 Dead, 40 Missing in Yunnan Landslide

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The landslide buried 47 people and triggered a large-scale rescue operation, including sub-zero temperatures, falling snow, and icy roads.

The landslide struck at 05:51 local time, trapping residents of Liangshui in their homes while many were still asleep.

The cause of the landslide remains unclear, but the mountainous terrain of the region is known for being prone to such natural disasters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered an all-out rescue operation, addressing the urgency of the situation. Over 500 people were evacuated from the affected area, and nearly 1,000 rescue workers, including Chinese vice-premier Zhang Guoqing, were dispatched to the site.

The rescue teams faced the task of searching through rubble and debris to locate survivors. Video clips shared on social media showed the conditions faced by rescuers working against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains.

One villager described the moment, stating, “It was very loud, and there was also a shake, it felt like a big earthquake.”

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Another survivor, Luo Dongmei, recounted how her brother’s warning saved her family: “I was asleep, but my brother knocked on the door and woke me up. They said there was a landslide and the bed was shaking, so they rushed upstairs and woke us up.”

President Xi Jinping’s call for an all-out rescue was by efforts to provide immediate relief to those affected.

Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Guoqing led a group to oversee rescue operations on the ground. The government also evacuated around 500 people from the area to make sure their safety in freezing temperatures.

The rescue operation faced challenges, including heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures, and icy roads. The cold snap affecting the region to the search for survivors and the recovery of those buried under the debris.

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As of the latest reports, rescuers have recovered the bodies of eight victims, while two survivors have been pulled from the rubble.

The search continues for the remaining missing individuals, with more than 300 rescue workers involved in the operation.

The landslide occurred when a period of heavy snowfall in various parts of China, leading to transportation disruptions.

The country has experienced natural disasters in recent months, ranging from avalanches trapping tourists in northwestern China to a powerful earthquake in the northwest between Gansu and Qinghai provinces.

Yunnan province, known for its steep mountain ranges and challenging terrain, has a history of landslides. The region’s susceptibility to such geological events is contributed to both natural factors and, at times, unsafe construction practices. In January 2013, a landslide in the same county claimed the lives of at least 18 people.

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