BEIJING: A landslide in southwestern China’s mountainous Yunnan province early Monday buried 47 people and forced the evacuation of 200 more amid freezing temperatures and falling snow.
The disaster struck just before 6 a.m. in the village of Liangshui in the northeastern part of Yunnan province. Rescue efforts were underway to find victims buried in 18 separate houses, the Zhenxiong county publicity department said.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries. The cause of the landslide wasn’t immediately known, although photos showed snow was on the ground and continuing to fall.
Luo Dongmei, 35, was sleeping when the landslide struck, but she survived and was relocated to a school by local authorities.
“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,” Luo said.
Luo, her husband and their three children, along with many other residents, have been provided with food at the school but are still waiting for blankets and other protection from the cold weather, she said.
Luo said she's been unable to contact her sister and aunt, who lived closer to the site of the landslide. “The only thing I can do is to wait,” she said.
Rescuers evacuated tourists last week from a remote skiing area in northwestern China where dozens of avalanches triggered by heavy snow trapped more than 1,000 people for a week. The avalanches blocked roads, stranding both tourists and residents in a village in Altay prefecture in the Xinjiang region, close to China’s border with Mongolia, Russia and Kazakhstan.
Landslides, often caused by rain or unsafe construction work, are not uncommon in China. At least 70 people were killed in landslides last year, including more than 50 at an open pit mine in the Inner Mongolia region. In 2021, 14 workers were killed when a tunnel under construction was flooded.
The landslide in Yunnan also came just over a month after China’s most powerful earthquake in years struck the northwest in a remote region between Gansu and Qinghai province. At least 149 people were killed in the 6.2-magnitude temblor that struck on Dec. 18, reducing homes to rubble and triggering heavy mudslides that inundated two villages in Qinghai province.
Nearly 1,000 people were injured and more than 14,000 homes were destroyed in China’s deadliest earthquake in nine years.