91 still missing after China landslide buries building

Rescuers are searching for at least 91 missing people a day after a mountain of excavated soil and construction waste buried dozens of buildings when it swept through a Chinese industrial park.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the landslide in the southern city of Shenzhen buried or damaged 33 buildings in the industrial park. Shenzhen is a major manufacturing centre in Guangdong province across the border from Hong Kong that makes products used around the world ranging from mobile phones to cars.

Aerial photos on the microblog of the Public Security Ministry’s Firefighting Bureau showed the area awash in a sea of red mud, with several buildings either knocked on their side or collapsed entirely.

Posts on the microblog said mud had thoroughly infused many of the buildings, leaving the “room of survival extremely small.”

Just seven people were rescued overnight and 13 overall were taken to hospital, including three with life-threatening injuries, according to state broadcaster China Central Television, or CCTV.

Mobile phone video of the noon-time Sunday disaster run by CCTV showed the massive wall of debris slamming into the buildings and sending up huge plumes of dust.

The ministry said it had sent more staff to help monitor the situation and guard against a second collapse.

The 33 damaged or collapsed buildings included 14 factories, two office buildings, one cafeteria, three dormitories and 13 sheds or workshops, Shenzhen deputy mayor Liu Qingsheng said.

Nearly 1,500 people were involved in the rescue efforts, aided by 151 cranes, diggers and other equipment, along with rescue dogs and special life-detecting equipment.

CCTV said Chinese president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang issued orders to make rescuing those trapped the top priority.

The initial landslide sparked an explosion in a section of a natural gas pipeline owned by PetroChina, the country’s top oil and gas producer. By today, the fire was extinguished and a temporary section of pipe was being laid.

Xinhua said that as of today, 59 men and 32 women were missing in the landslide.

Li Yikang, the deputy secretary general of the Shenzhen city government, said more than 900 people had been evacuated and moved to local schools and community centres.

Ren Jiguang, the deputy chief of Shenzhen’s public security bureau, said most people had been moved to safety before the landslide hit.



NEO Web Desk

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