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Remaining landslide victims found in China, bringing death toll to 44

Rescuers have struggled with snow, ice and freezing temperatures (Hu Chao/Xinhua via AP)
Rescuers have struggled with snow, ice and freezing temperatures (Hu Chao/Xinhua via AP)

The bodies of the remaining victims of a landslide in southwestern China were recovered on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 44 after four days of searching through the rubble of dirt and crumbled homes, state media said.

The final body was found in the evening, according to state broadcaster CCTV, which posted photos of excavators and teams of searchers in orange uniforms and helmets, which made up part of a contingent of more than 1,000 rescuers.

China Landslide
Rescuers carry out operations in Liangshui Village after a landslide in the remote, mountainous part of southwestern China killed 39 people (Jiang Wenyao/Xinhua via AP)

The landslide slammed into houses at the foot of a slope early on Monday morning in Liangshui, a village in a remote and mountainous part of Yunnan province.

It left a barren swathe on the slope after hitting the village, which sits between snow-covered, terraced fields.

Two survivors were found on Monday.

A preliminary investigation found that the landslide had been triggered by the collapse of a steep clifftop area, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

It did not elaborate on the cause of the initial collapse.

Rescuers struggled with snow, icy roads and freezing temperatures.

The area is about 1,400 miles (2,250km) south-west of Beijing, the Chinese capital, with altitudes ranging up to 2,400m(7,900ft).

China Landslide
More than 900 villagers were relocated in the wake of the landslide after the mountainside spilled over several homes (Jiang Wenyao/Xinhua via AP)

A strong earthquake also struck western China this week, killing three people in the Xinjiang region in the north-west.

The death toll from Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 quake was low because it was a relatively deep one, far below the surface, in a sparsely populated area, experts said.

Local officials also credited efforts to improve housing in the area.

In another tragedy, a fire in a commercial building in south-eastern China’s Jiangxi province killed at least 39 people on Wednesday.