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Death toll rises following south-western China landslide

The landslide hit Liangshui village in south-western China’s Yunnan Province (CCTV via AP)
The landslide hit Liangshui village in south-western China’s Yunnan Province (CCTV via AP)

The death toll from a landslide in a remote, mountainous part of south-western China has risen to 34, while 10 people are still missing, Chinese state media reported.

The disaster struck early on Monday in the village of Liangshui in the north-eastern part of Yunnan province.

Search and rescue operations continued amid freezing temperatures and falling snow.

More than 1,000 rescuers were working at the site with the help of diggers, drones and rescue dogs, the ministry of emergency management said on Tuesday.

Two survivors were found on Monday and are recovering at a local hospital.

China Landslide
At least 10 others are missing (Xinhua via AP)

State news agency Xinhua, citing a preliminary investigation by local experts, said the landslide was triggered by the collapse of a steep clifftop area, with the collapsed mass measuring around 330ft wide, 200ft in height and an average of 20ft in thickness.

It did not elaborate on what caused the initial collapse.

Aerial photos posted by Xinhua showed the side of a heavily terraced mountain had spilled over several village homes. More than 900 villagers were relocated.

Zhenxiong county lies about 1,400 miles south-west of Beijing, with altitudes ranging as high as 7,900ft.

Rescuers struggled with snow, icy roads and freezing temperatures that were forecast to persist for the next days.

Heavy snow has been falling in many parts of China, causing transportation chaos and endangering lives.

Last week, rescuers evacuated tourists from a remote skiing area in north-western China where dozens of avalanches triggered by heavy snow had trapped more than 1,000 people for a week.

A bulldozer clears rubble
Hundreds of people were evacuated amid freezing temperatures Xinhua via AP)

The avalanches blocked roads, stranding both tourists and residents in a village in Altay prefecture in the Xinjiang region, close to China’s border with Mongolia, Russia and Kazakhstan.

On Tuesday, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in a remote part of Xinjiang killed at least three people and caused extensive damage in freezing weather. Officials suggested the area’s sparse population contributed to the “very strong” quake’s low death toll.

In all, natural disasters in China left 691 people dead and missing last year, causing direct economic losses of about 345 billion yuan (£38 billion), according to official figures.

Meanwhile, the ministry of natural resources implemented emergency response measures for geological disasters and sent a team of experts to the site.