The landslide that hit a hydropower station in southeast China’s Fujian Province has left at least 10 dead with 14 people being treated at a local hospital and 41 people missing.
The landslide occurred at around 5 a.m. Sunday morning in the mountainous county of Taining. Rocks and mud to the tune of 100,000 cubic meters (3.5 million cubic feet) had buried an office building and the construction workers’ living area at the site.
Deng Chunwu, a survivor, told the official Xinhua News Agency how he and three other workers survived by huddling underneath a supporting pole, and how their room had been pushed 10 meters (30 feet) by the flowing mud:
“We were asleep when the mountains began to jolt very strongly and before we knew it, sand and mud were flowing into our room.”
Lyu Mengjing, the Party secretary of Sinohydro Bureau 16 Co., Ltd who is responsible for the construction along with Sinohydro Bureau 12 Co. Ltd, said at a press conference that rescuers will continue searching for the 41 workers from the two companies.
The injured are receiving hospital treatment and are in a stable condition, Xinhua reported. State broadcaster China Central Television added that the injuries suffered included bone fractures.
Boulders, mud, and twisted steel bars are scattered all around the landslide site. Sniffer dogs are also working alongside the 600 strong rescuers to help detect any signs of life from the debris. Dozens of excavators are also digging through the pile.
Ambulances and army vehicles are on standby should anyone be recovered from the debris. Rescuers are also working to clear the roads leading to the landslide site after multiple cave-ins.
Intermittent rainfall has complicated the rescue efforts, with authorities saying that the rainfall in “Taining is 35 percent higher than historical average since this year.” In the 24 hours before the landslide rainfall had reached up to 215.7 mm in parts of Taining, which is believed to have triggered the landslide.
Chunwu had confirmed the rainfall saying:
“It’s been raining all the time over the past couple of days and I didn’t think it was a big deal, but the rain last night was more fierce than ever.”
China is poised for a major flood year with heavy rainfall continuing to affect much of southern China triggering floods and landslides. Xinhua reported that a 75-year-old woman and her 3-year-old great-grandson had been washed away in an overflowing river in Hubei province.
Rainstorms had also led to the evacuation of more than 1,000 people in Guangxi region; a collapsed road in Guizhou province has left one person dead and another missing.