China landslide: More than 100 missing as search continues

The aftermath of a landslide in the village of Xinmo in Maoxian county, China's Sichuan province, 25 June 2017Image copyright
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Fifteen bodies have so far been recovered but 118 people remain unaccounted for

More than 100 people remain missing after a huge landslide buried homes in a village in Sichuan province, south-western China.

A couple and a baby were rescued and taken to hospital on Saturday but hopes of finding more survivors are fading.

The bodies of fifteen people have so far been recovered, but many more are feared trapped beneath the rubble.

Thousands of rescuers were deployed after some 40 homes were destroyed in Xinmo village in Maoxian county.

Emergency workers have been digging through earth and rocks for a second day, with rescue dogs scouring the debris for some 118 people who remain unaccounted for.

One of those rescued, Qiao Dashuai, told state broadcaster CCTV that his baby had woken him and his partner in the early hours, adding that when the couple opened the door of their home they were swept away by water. He said his parents and other relatives were still missing.

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Media captionThe rescue team has been searching for missing people

Heavy rain is thought to have triggered the landslide, causing the top section of a mountain to loosen, sending boulders and rocks crashing down onto the village below at about 06:00 local time on Saturday (22:00 GMT on Friday).

Chinese President Xi Jinping later urged the emergency services to “spare no effort”.

More than 3,000 rescuers have been working in the area, using ropes to move large rocks in the frantic search for villagers.

But geological experts at the site on Sunday said that the chance of finding survivors was becoming “really slim”, China’s Xinhua news agency reports.

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Rescuers and local residents use rope to move large boulders at the site of the deadly landslide

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Maoxian county has suffered a deadly landslide before

The landslide blocked a 2km (1.2-mile) stretch of a river, the news agency added. Local police said a lack of vegetation in the area had made the landslide worse.

Local officials said some 8m cubic metres (282m cubic ft) of rock had been dislodged and roads had been closed to all traffic except emergency services.

Landslides are a regular danger in mountainous regions of China, especially during heavy rains.

In 2008, 87,000 people were killed when an earthquake struck Wenchuan county in Sichuan province. In Maoxian county itself, 37 tourists were killed when their coach was buried in a landslide caused by the 2008 earthquake.

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Relief workers have been carrying emergency supplies to the area


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