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Yunnan province grapples with tragedy as landslide claims 31 lives

Yunnan, China faces devastation after a catastrophic landslide hit Liangshui village, burying 18 houses and causing tragic loss of lives. As of Tuesday evening, 31 deaths are confirmed, with ongoing rescue efforts to find survivors among the wreckage.

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CHINA: Southwest China’s Yunnan province is reeling from the aftermath of a catastrophic landslide that unfolded on Monday (22 Jan).

The disaster struck Liangshui village in Zhen­xiong county (镇雄县) at approximately 6 am, burying 18 houses under tons of debris, leading to the tragic loss of lives and leaving more than 10 individuals still missing.

As of Tuesday (23 Jan) evening, local authorities have confirmed 31 deaths, and rescue efforts are ongoing to locate survivors amid the wreckage.

The disaster-response task force at the site released a news statement outlining the grim details. Despite the valiant efforts of rescue teams, all 31 bodies recovered from the rubble showed no signs of life.

The search continues for those missing, and the challenging terrain is proving to be a formidable obstacle for the ongoing rescue operations.

The impact of this disaster extends beyond the immediate loss of lives. Urgent measures have been taken to relocate 918 people from 223 families to ensure their safety.

Among these, 90 individuals have found shelter in a temporary facility established in a local primary school. The shelter provides essential daily necessities, including food and accommodation, for those affected by the landslide.

Additionally, 778 people have sought refuge with relatives and friends, while two individuals are currently receiving treatment in a local hospital.

Governments at various levels have rallied together, mobilizing over 1,000 personnel for rescue operations, complemented by the assistance of 81 rescue dogs.

The operation involves the use of heavy machinery, including excavators, loaders, and large transport vehicles.

Over 100 medical professionals and 16 ambulances are on-site, equipped with 37,000 millilitres of blood allocated for emergency treatment.

Local authorities have allocated resources to address the immediate needs of affected residents. Hundreds of tents, quilts, and over 1,000 cotton coats have been provided to ensure that those displaced by the landslide have access to shelter and warmth.

However, the challenging location of Liangshui village, situated in a high-altitude mountainous area with complex terrain, has posed significant challenges.

Light snowfall in the region has led to the accumulation of snow and ice on rooftops, tents, and equipment, further complicating the already difficult rescue efforts.

Moreover, concerns about the stability of a nearby mountain add a layer of complexity to the situation. The disaster-response task force has arranged for specialists to monitor the situation and set up radar stations for real-time landslide monitoring.

Although access to the disaster area is currently clear, power and communication lines are functioning normally, and efforts to rescue the missing are still ongoing.

Adding to the complexity of the rescue operations is the weather forecast issued by Yunnan’s meteorological authority on Tuesday (23 Jan).

From Wednesday (24 Jan) to Friday (26 Jan), Zhen­xiong County is anticipated to experience cold weather with rain and snow, accompanied by temperatures below zero.

Min Ying, chief forecaster at the Yunnan Meteorological Observatory, emphasizes the importance of ensuring the warmth and safety of those involved in disaster relief and evacuation.

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