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    Yunnan Landslide: 25 Dead as Rescue Enters Second Day

    An investigation is underway into the cause of the landslide, which occurred in a rural area of Yunnan province where coal mining is common.
    Jan 23, 2024#disasters

    The death toll from the landslide in a coal-mining village in the southwestern Yunnan province has risen to 25, state broadcaster CCTV announced Tuesday afternoon, with 19 people still missing.

    As of 2:50 p.m. Tuesday, 918 residents have been evacuated, while three of the original 47 people declared missing have been found alive.

    According to local officials, the landslide occurred at 5:51 a.m. Monday in a rural part of northeastern Yunnan, burying two villages.

    Clips of the disaster site and ongoing rescue efforts have been widely circulated on Chinese social media, including a video purporting to show the sound of the mountain as it collapsed.

    As of Tuesday afternoon, over 1,000 personnel from local, provincial, and national rescue teams have been dispatched to the scene, along with 45 sniffer dogs and 150 pieces of rescue machinery, according to CCTV.

    Rescue efforts, currently taking place in sub-zero temperatures, have been hampered by risks of additional landslides, a captain of the county rescue team told China Newsweek on Monday.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for “all-out” rescue efforts, while Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing arrived at the site on Monday to oversee rescue operations.

    The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management have announced a 50-million-yuan ($6.99 million) emergency fund to support relief efforts.

    Su Dechen, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, told state-run China National Radio that coal mining activities may cause rock masses to loosen, and that local villagers had noticed cracking in the surface of surrounding hills before the landslide. A full investigation into the cause of the landslide is underway.

    In April 2021, a landslide in the same county caused by villagers’ construction work killed three people.

    (Header image: Rescuers at the site of the landslide in Liangshui Village, Zhenxiong County, Yunnan province, Jan. 23, 2024. VCG)