Rescue workers continued to search for survivors as possible signs of life were detected on Monday evening after a landslide hit a neighborhood in Bijie, a city in Guizhou province, in the morning.
The landslide at 10:40 am in Zhangjiawan, a township in Nayong county, affected 34 households and had killed at least three people by 8 pm on Monday night. Seven who were rescued were hospitalized, and 32 people were missing, according to the city government.
Xiao Tiaowei, a senior Guizhou fire brigade officer who participated in the rescue, told China Central Television that rocks had been rolling down the mountain, making the rescue work more difficult.
Heavy rainfall was expected in Nayong from Monday evening to Tuesday morning, possibly causing more problems for disaster relief.
The China National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs initiated a grade-IV emergency response after the landslide and sent officials to the area to assist disaster relief work. Local civil affairs authorities also sent tents, quilts and camp beds to the site.
A grade-IV response, the lowest in China's emergency response system, means a 24-hour alert, daily damage reports and the allocation of money and relief materials within 48 hours.
Resident Li Yan told China Youth Daily she heard a loud tumbling noise. When the dust settled, she saw the mountain was much lower. The cause of the landslide remained unclear.