A classroom building and two farm houses were buried in the landslide in China. Photo credit to Dawn.com

According to state news, there were 5 primary school students that have been confirmed dead and 1 seriously injured after a landslide hit a village Thursday in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

The county government stated that the landslide happened around 8:00 in the morning at the village of Zhenhe, Yiliang County of Zhaotong City, trapping 19 villagers.

The landslide which is estimated to be around 160,000 cubic meters, engulfed 18 students at a Tiantou Primary School building. There were 18 Chinese elementary school students studying during a public holiday Thursday to make up for classes disrupted by recent earthquakes in southwest China. Classes at the school are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The students who were buried arrived at the school early were there for the said make up classes.

Yang Jianping, squadron leader of Yiliang County Armed Police, said in an interview, the landslide followed several days of rain, A military rescue team of 50 soldiers has been dispatched to the area. So far, Rescuers have recovered the bodies of 5 students as they ramaged through rubble at a village in Yunnan province after the landslide struck the school and 2 houses.

The landslide also blocked a nearby river, forming a barrier lake that is 15 meters wide and 7 meters deep. The government has relocated more than 800 residents living downstream to safer places and mobilized nearly 2,000 people to destroy the barrier lake and aid in rescue efforts. The rescue efforts will be continuous.

Last September 7, multiple earthquakes struck Yiliang and its neighboring areas in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, killing 81 people and injuring 800 others.

Meanwhile, the rescuers are working to reach those who are still trapped by the landslide. For the record, South-west China is prone to earthquakes. In May 2008, a magnitude 8.0 tremor rocked Sichuan and parts of neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, killing thousands and flattening lands of the province.

Corner-cutting in construction projects leading to substandard buildings, especially schools, was blamed for the death toll being as high as it was in the 2008 Sichuan quake.



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