Free Press Journal

China landslide death toll mounts to 34

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Rescuers stand in silent tribute for people killed during a landslide in Taining County in China’s eastern Fujian province on Monday.

Beijing: At least 34 people have been killed in a massive landslide that trapped the workers of an under- construction hydropower project in southeast China even as rescuers on Monday dramatically pulled out 12 persons alive from under one lakh cubic metres of mud and debris.

Seven people were still listed missing following the landslide triggered by heavy rain, while authorities said the continuing downpour was affecting the rescue operation. Thirty-one bodies have been found after the massive landslide hit the construction site of the hydropower station in Taining County in Fujian Province yesterday.


Twelve people were dramatically pulled out alive after a day and have been transferred to hospitals; three were stated to be critical, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The landslide brought down about one lakh cubic metres of mud and rocks, burying a temporary shed at the construction site and damaging offices.

“We were still asleep when the mountains began to jolt very strongly and before we know it, sand and mud were flowing into our room,” said Deng Chunwu, who survived the landslide by hiding underneath a supporting pole along with three others in their work camp. “We were still asleep when the mountains began to jolt very strongly and before we know it, sand and mud are flowing into our room.”

Deng said their room has been pushed 10 metres further by the flowing mud. “It’s been raining all the time over the past couple of days and I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Deng said. Heavy rain has made rescue work more difficult, and according to Zheng Guoen, deputy head of the provincial drought and flood control office, residents in the area need to be evacuated soon to avoid more geological disasters.

Rescuers are also working to clear the roads leading to the landslide site after multiple cave-ins. Boulders, mud and twisted steel bars are scattered around the landslide site. Sniffer dogs are working alongside over 600 rescuers to help detect any signs of life from the debris.

Dozens of excavators are digging through the pile, the report said. Dozens of ambulances and army vehicles are on standby should anyone is recovered from the debris. Intermittent rainfall, have complicated the rescue efforts. Authorities said precipitation in Taining is 35 per cent higher than historical average since this year.

In the last 24 hours, precipitation has hit up to 215.7 mm in parts of Taining, triggering landslide. The site under construction is an extension of the Chitan hydropower station, an affiliate of Huadian Fuxin Energy Limited Company.

The construction of the hydropower plant began in November 2015 and is expected to get operationalised in August 2017.