Landslide and floods in China cause death and devastation
Reports say between 30 and 40 people buried in landslide in southwest of country
The old town ruins of Beichuan, which was hit by an 8.0-magnitude earthquake in May 2008, is submerged by flood water in Beichuan, China. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
A building collapses amid floodwaters caused by torrential rain in Deyang City, Shifang County, Sichuan Province, on Tuesday in this still image taken from video. Photograph: Reuters/CCTV via Reuters TV
Dozens of people have been reported buried in a landslide in southwestern China, after the worst flooding in 50 years caused chaos in the region today and destroyed a memorial to the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province.
The landslide took place in Zhongxing township near Dujiangyan, one of the areas worst affected by the quake five years ago, emergency workers in the provincial capital Chengdu said.
They said between 30 and 40 people had been buried in the landslide and that rescuers with search dogs were at the scene.
Horrifying footage posted online on Sina Weibo showed a house and its occupants being swept away by the floodwaters.
Strong rain means landslides and flooding are common in China’s mountainous areas at this time of year, killing hundreds of people every year. More than half a million people have been affected by the flooding so far. Heavy rain is falling in many parts of China, including the capital, Beijing.
The flooding also caused the collapse of a bridge in a county nearby, sending six vehicles into the surging waters and leaving 12 people missing.
Flooding destroyed a memorial in the abandoned ruins of Beichuan, a town near the epicentre of the 2008 quake that left that left 90,000 people dead or missing.
“It is the biggest rainstorm in 50 years in the county,” Wang Shoulei, an information officer in Beichuan, told local media. “The deepest water in the ruins is seven metres. The rainstorm has affected 15 townships and 42,571 people in Beichuan.
“While the county has evacuated 2,019 residents as a precaution, one person is missing, many roads and bridges have been damaged, and power and telecommunication facilities have been cut off.”
The Sichuan Provincial Meteorological Centre has upgraded its orange rainstorm alert to red, as more rain is expected in Dujiangyan, Beichuan, Ya’an and Wenchuan over the next three days.
Elsewhere, in the northeast, at least 12 workers were killed when a violent rainstorm caused the collapse of an unfinished coal mine workshop they were building in the city of Jinzhong last night.