2017-06-24 03:11:37

Some 10 people are dead and around 93 missing after a landslide buried a rural village in southwestern China early Saturday morning, according to the latest figures reported Sunday afternoon by The Paper, a sister publication of Sixth Tone.

The landslide happened at about 6 a.m. in Mao County, located in a mountainous area in Sichuan province on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. More than 60 houses have been buried in Xinmo Village, according an earlier report by state-owned news agency Xinhua. The county is part of the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba. The landslide is thought to have been caused by heavy rain in the vicinity.  

More than 2,500 rescue workers are at the scene, The Paper reported Sunday.

In an interview with the publication on Saturday, local publicity department officials described the disaster site as compact, making it difficult to expand the scale of the rescue operation. To prevent further collapses search teams had to exercise caution when digging, they said.    

Photos from the site show a sea of gray stone covering a large area. The landslide blocked a 2-kilometer section of a river and buried 1.6 kilometers of road.

Local authorities have called the landslide a “Level 1” emergency, the highest level of alert.

Deng Congbi, 62, from a village nearby said she feared that nobody would be rescued. “They are all our relatives and friends,” she told the Paper. “It’s heartbreaking.”

This story has been updated to reflect additional information.

Contributions: Fu Danni; editors: Owen Churchill and Colum Murphy.

(Header image: A view of the disaster site in Mao County, Sichuan province, June 24, 2017. From the Weibo microblog of Mao County’s Party committee publicity department)