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Survivors found as dozens buried in Fujian’s landslide

Sun Xiaochen
Updated: May 9,2016 7:54 AM     China Daily

Armed Police Force officers help evacuate stranded local people in the wake of a massive landslide which trapped more than 40 people in Sanming, Fujian province, on May 8.[Photo/China Daily]

Rescuers have pulled thirteen people alive from a massive landslide while 41 remained missing at a hydropower construction site in Southeast China’s Fujian province on May 8 following days of heavy rain.

The landslide occurred at about 5am on May 8 in Sanming, central Fujian, when 100,000 cubic meters of rocks and mud flowed downhill, burying a station office and the construction workers’ dormitory at the site, according to Xinhua report.

Rescue workers use a tracker dog to search for survivors of a landslide in Sanming, Fujian province, on May 8. By late evening, 13 people had been rescued, while 41 remained missing. [Photo/Xinhua]

A team that includes about 100 firefighters and professional rescuers, 60 medical personnel and more than 300 local officials and residents has been mobilized, and rescue and detection equipment is being used, local authorities said on May 8.

After the accident, President Xi Jinping urged local governments and departments to make all-out efforts to search for the buried and missing people, as well as requiring proper treatment for the injured and condolences for relatives.

Premier Li Keqiang issued written instructions that called for strengthening monitoring and safety checks against hidden perils in surrounding areas to prevent secondary disasters.

The Ministry of Land and Resources dispatched a work team, joined by specialists from the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, to Fujian to lead and instruct the rescue work.

However, the continuing downpour, instability of mountain terrain and boulder obstacles are causing problems for the rescue efforts, said Guo Weihong, commissar of a municipal firefighting troop working on the site.

“It’s difficult to transport large search and rescue machinery to the site because stones block the main road. We are clearing the road to bring in more rescue forces while searching the site,” he was quoted as saying by China Central Television on May 8.

According to the CCTV report, an 86-member team from a local garrison of the armed forces, with heavy equipment, and two expert rescue crews from Beijing and nearby Anhui province were on their way to the site on May 8.

The heavy downpours, which unleashed 191.6 millimeters of rain in 24 hours starting on May 7, contributed to the landslide, according to local officials.

Heavy rain will continue to sweep South China in the next two days, the National Meteorological Center forecast on May 8, saying torrential rain will hit the provinces of Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian and Zhejiang as well as Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Parts of those regions were to see thunderstorms or hail from May 8 to 9 while the rain was to spread southward without signs of relenting, the center said.

Meteorologists warned the public to stay away from mountainous areas and river valleys as floods, mudslides and rock flows are possible.

Xinhua contributed to this story