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Dozens of children reportedly among China landslide victims

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 30, 2010
Hopes of finding any survivors among nearly 100 people buried in a landslide after heavy rain in southwest China were fading Wednesday, as a report said dozens of children were among the missing.

More than 1,100 rescuers braved ongoing rainfall and the danger of further landslides to find the missing villagers, but only three bodies have been recovered since the disaster struck Monday in Guizhou province, officials said.

"The rescue work is going on with difficulties. I can only tell you we are trying our best," an official who declined to be named told AFP by telephone.

Late Tuesday, state press revised the number of missing down to 99, including the three dead, after several of the missing turned up in Dazhai village, where the landslide occurred.

More than 100,000 cubic metres of mud and rocks, the equivalent of 40 Olympic-size swimming pools, engulfed 30 buildings and homes in the village, state press said.

"The landslide lasted only two minutes, and there was no warning. It was very difficult for the villagers to escape," an official with the Guizhou provincial work safety bureau was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.

According to local villagers, up to 30 children and infants left in the village by their migrant worker parents were believed to be buried, the regional Shenghuo News newspaper reported.

Local government officials refused to confirm the report when contacted by AFP.

"The sound was much like thunder. When I looked back, the whole village had disappeared," survivor Zhang Jin told Xinhua.

The landslide was the latest weather-related disaster to hit China, which has suffered floods along with mudslides since summer downpours started pounding parts of the nation's south, east and centre in mid-June.

So far this month, at least 235 people have died and more than 100 gone missing in rain-related accidents, not including the Guizhou landslide, according to China's civil affairs ministry.

Millions more have had to flee their homes and authorities said Sunday that nearly 69 million people had been affected by the severe weather.

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China struggles to find 106 still buried in landslide
Beijing (AFP) June 29, 2010
Hundreds of rescuers struggled in treacherous conditions Tuesday to find 106 people buried in a landslide in southwest China, as the first victim's body was pulled out. The corpse of a child was dug out of the mud and debris, Xinhua news agency said, as rescuers searched for signs of life in Dazhai village in Guizhou province after Monday's landslide, with hope for survivors considered slim. ... read more

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