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59 Missing as Landslide Hits South China

(Xinhua)    07:20, December 21, 2015
59 Missing as Landslide Hits South China
Photo taken on Dec. 20, 2015 shows the landslide site of an industrial park in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province. Four people have been pulled out of debris and 22 remain missing after a landslide hit an industrial park collapsing 22 buildings Sunday in Shenzhen city of south China's Guangdong Province, rescuers said. (Xinhua)

A total of 59 people went missing by 11 p.m., after a landslide buried 33 buildings in an industrial park in Shenzhen city of south China's Guangdong Province on Sunday, according to local authorities.

The missing include 36 male and 23 female, Yang Feng, an official with Shenzhen's emergency management office, told reporters on Sunday night.

Three people were injured in the disaster, according to officials from the rescue headquarters.

The headquarters said they have detected signs of life at three separate locations of the site.

Rescuers are battling unfavorable geological conditions to save those trapped under mud, after the landslide struck the Hengtaiyu industrial park at around 11:40 a.m., leaving more than 100,000 square meters of debris at the site.

The park is located in the Guangming New District in northwestern Shenzhen. A nearby section of the West-to-East natural gas pipeline exploded as the landslide hit the area.

"The site is quite narrow and is located on a ramp, so it is very difficult for vehicles to enter," said Ao Zhuoqian with Shenzhen's fire control department. "We have to go there on foot."

Rescue efforts are currently hampered by a spate of obstacles, including rain, low nighttime visibility and the large amount of mud, Ao said.


A video clip on microblog Sina Weibo shows powerful mud rocking the site with roaring sounds.

A resident living about four kilometers away from the site told Xinhua that he heard "a loud explosion" at around noon.

"It must be a big accident, as I could hear the sound from so far away."

An employee with the Liuxu Technology Co. in the park said power supply in the company suddenly went down at around noon.

"I saw red earth and mud running towards the company building," he said. "Fortunately, our building was not hit, and all people in our company were safely evacuated."

He said the landslide first crushed into a fish pond before burying buildings in the park, with water splashing up to three stories high.

"Without the pond's buffer, there would be more damage," he said.

Peng Jinxin, a local villager, said the large amount of mud came like "huge waves" when the landslide struck. Another villager said he narrowly escaped the disaster before torrents of mud engulfed his home.

"At one point the running mud was only ten meters away from me," he said.

The mud has covered an area of more than 60,000 square meters with an average thickness of 6 meters, according to geological experts at the site.


Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have ordered immediate rescue efforts following the disaster.

Xi ordered Guangdong and Shenzhen authorities to do everything possible to minimize casualties, treat the injured and comfort the family members of the victims. He said scientific rescue efforts are needed to prevent further damages.

Li urged the ministry of land and resources and other central authorities to send officials to help the local government in its rescue efforts. He ordered investigations into the cause of the disaster.

The State Council, China's cabinet, has sent a working group to Shenzhen to help coordinate rescue efforts. Guangdong and Shenzhen officials are already at the site.

More than 1,500 people, including firemen, policemen and medical staff, are involved in the rescue operations, with more than 900 residents having been evacuated by 5 p.m.

A total of 104 fire engines, 123 life-detectors, 4 drones and 30 sniffer dogs have been employed in rescue work, according to the official Weibo account of the Fire Department under the Ministry of Public Security.  


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Bianji)

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