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Rescuers Ordered to Evacuate Deadly Chinese Landslide Site

  • VOA News

Rescue workers line up along a giant pit as they prepare to search for victims at the site of a landslide in Maoxian County in southwestern China's Sichuan Province, June 25, 2017.

Rescue workers have been ordered to evacuate the site of the deadly landslide in southwest China's Sichuan province.

State news agency Xinhua says the provincial work safety bureau ordered the evacuation Monday morning after radar monitoring detected movement on the hillside where a huge landslide Saturday buried the homes of the mountain village of Xinmo. The agency said risks of a second landslide were predicted Monday morning.

More than 3,000 people — police, soldiers and civilians — have participated in the rescue efforts, according to officials, and have been working nonstop to search through the rocks and rubble for survivors.

Officials say 10 bodies have been recovered so far and 93 people remain missing.

As of Sunday night, only three people - a couple and their month-old baby - had been rescued after the wall of rock and debris destroyed at least 40 houses.

Rescuers and local residents used ropes to move a boulder while dozens of others, aided by dogs to sniff out humans, searched the rubble for survivors, according to videos posted online by the government and state broadcaster CCTV.

Bulldozers and heavy diggers also have been deployed to remove boulders, while villagers and soldiers lifted rocks with their bare hands. Rescuers brought spotlights to continue the search after sunset.

"It's the biggest landslide in this area since the Wenchuan earthquake," said Wang Yongbo, one of the officials in charge of rescue efforts, referring to the disaster that killed 87,000 people in 2008 in a town in Sichuan.

Authorities say the landslide was caused by torrential rain, and the cascading debris of mud and rocks blocked a 2-kilometer stretch of a river and a 1.6-kilometer section of a road, according to local officials.

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly after heavy rains.

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