China landslide death toll rises to 22

The China landslide death toll has risen to 22 and 17 people remain missing.

Authorities said as of 1 p.m., twenty-two bodies had been found at the scene and two people who were on the missing list had been found alive and safe.

The landslide occurred around 5 a.m. on Sunday night in Taining County, where about 100,000 cubic meters of mud and rocks flowed downhill, burying a temporary shed at a hydropower station construction site and damaging its offices.

Overnight, excavators shoved away boulders while rescuers groped through the mud and rocks searching for 41 missing people following a landslide in southeast China’s Fujian Province.

According to the deputy head of the provincial drought and flood control office, Zheng Guoen said “heavy rain had made rescue work more difficult, residents in the area need to be evacuated soon to avoid more geological disasters”.

Under the searchlights, hundreds of rescuers, aided by sniffer dogs and life detecting equipment, searched every inch along a 10-meter-high slope of a landslide pileup.

A forklift operator with Sinohydro Bureau 12 Corporation Limited., Li Dajiang, said “he could not sleep or take a break because he hadn’t found any more survivors during the night after saving two injured people from the debris”.

A total of 13 injured people rescued from the accident site are being treated at a local hospital, and all are in stable condition.

The Sinohydro Bureau 12 Corporation was responsible for building an expansion of the Chitan hydropower station, along with the Sinohydro Bureau 16 Corporation Limited Both companies have been involved in the rescue work.

Some villagers stated that most of those buried were construction workers in their 30 or 40 years.

My niece was helping in the kitchen at the construction site when the accident happened. She must have been among the missing in the landslide”. Hope for her survival is dim,” said Jiang, the shop owner.

Captain of the Xiamen Shuguang Rescue Team, Wang Gang, said the team had just returned from a quake relief mission in Ecuador.

“We’ve got equipment and skills for search and rescue. We hope our work can give people more hope for survival miracles,” he said.

Commander of the Fujian Provincial Headquarters of Flood Control and Drought Relief, Huang Qiyu said the team are closely monitoring the Chitan reservoir’s water retention capacity, adding that the team had also postponed a plan to increase the flood discharge of the reservoir, which is under increasing pressure from flooding upstream.

Mr Qiyu said under the current weather conditions, the province is prone to flooding and ensuing geological disasters.

He said “We are trying our best to save more time for the rescue, adding that accelerating flood discharge would post flood threats to the rescue site.

Xinhua/Hauwa M.