7 dead, 20 missing in east China landslide

SUICHANG, Zhejiang — Seven people were confirmed dead in a landslide that hit a village in east China’s Zhejiang Province Wednesday, local authorities said Friday.

Rescuers retrieved four bodies at the scene of the landslide on Friday, bringing the death toll to seven, the provincial information office said in a press release.

As of Friday afternoon, 15 people had been rescued and 20 others remained missing.

Rainstorms triggered by Typhoon Megi caused about 400,000 cubic meters of debris to slide down nearby mountains, burying 20 houses in Sucun Village, Suichang County on Wednesday. More than 1,460 residents living nearby have been evacuated.

Hu Gang, executive vice county governor of Suichang, told reporters that more than 4,000 people, with the help of 43 life detectors, four unmanned planes and 180 excavators and rescue vehicles, are racing against the clock to reach the missing ones.

Hua Suping, party chief of the village, said the landslide started while she and other cadres were persuading residents to relocate.

Psychologists have been sent to temporary shelters to offer counseling to villagers who have been relocated.

A restaurant in Suichang County stayed open overnight to provide free noodles for rescuers.

A firefighter who had been working more than 24 hours told Xinhua that they could not stop the rescue work. “A little more persistence from rescuers will bring more opportunities to find survivors,” he said.

Xia Baolong, secretary of the provincial committee of the Communist Party of China, arrived at the village on Friday morning for rescue command and to comfort the affected residents and rescuers.

Xia asked rescuers to make every effort to find the missing and cautioned them to avoid secondary disasters.

Local authorities have received 2.1 million yuan (USD314,700) in donations for the deadly landslide. PNA/Xinhua-northboundasia.com