Search and rescue operation continues as more bodies are dug out from the rubbles. About 10 people remain missing as of Wednesday night. / CGTN photo
At least 25 people have been confirmed dead as of Thursday morning in the massive landslide that struck a village in Nayong County in southwest China's Guizhou Province. The number is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue.
The village of Pusa, about 200 kilometers from the provincial capital city of Guiyang, experienced the sudden collapse of a mountain around 10:40 a.m. on Monday. Large rocks and mud that rolled down the hilllide buried more than 30 homes in an instant.
"I heard people shouting that the mountain is collapsing. Then we tried to escape with the children, but it was difficult for us two adults to rush out with four children. And within seconds the house collapsed on us and we were buried," Luo Guoxiu, a woman who survived the disaster, told CGTN, adding that one of her kids didn't survive the ordeal and was found to have stopped breathing when the rescuers dragged all of them out.
Now rescuers, mainly armed police officers, are working round the clock with heavy machinery including excavators and stone breakers, trying to find survivors although the hope is diminishing with every passing minute.
They continue to face increasing challenges as the efforts proceed. "It's getting more difficult as we are moving closer to the collapsed mountain for further search, because the homes in this area would be buried deeper. Also, there could be more landslides that could be quite risky for us," Pan Feng, an armed police officer at the scene, told CGTN.
Disaster relief work is also underway. About 200 villagers threatened by potential hazards have been evacuated to temporary shelters, where they are provided with tents and daily necessities. Locals say after the tragedy, they are now worried about their safety as similar landslides may occur again.
"Big cracks have appeared on the mountains. Of course we are living in fear, but we can do nothing but wait for the government to make arrangements," said Chen Kaiming, a local villager living close to the collapse site.
During the press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the county government officials said they would work out a plan as soon as possible before taking measures to eliminate geological hazards. They also promised that they would attach great importance to ecological reconstruction work such as restoring farmlands and forests.
As a poverty-stricken county, Nayong is abundant in mineral resources and has been seeing extensive coal mining during the past years, which had undoubtedly impacted the geological conditions of the area.
During the press conference, officials said they are still investigating the causes for this tragedy by cooperating with geological experts.
In fact, this is not the first time that the area has experienced such disasters. In July 2016, a rain-triggered landslide buried more than 30 people in a neighboring county. Back in 2004, a similar mountain collapse also killed more than 40 people.
Locals say they just hope that local authorities would take concrete measures such as controlling the coal mining afterwards so that they can enjoy a peaceful life in this remote village.