- Language Tips
Fourteen primary school students were confirmed dead and one seriously injured in Yunnan province on Thursday after a landslide, which buried 19 people, crushed their school in an area that was hit by a series of earthquakes in early September.
The landslide, which involved around 160,000 cubic meters of earth, occurred at about 8 am in Zhenhe village, in Longhai township of Yiliang county, after rain continuously drenched the area for more than 20 days, according to a statement from the county's publicity department.
The landslide engulfed a primary school building, trapping 18 pupils, as well as three households nearby, and burying a farmer, the statement added.
Rescuers had pulled the bodies of 14 students out of the collapsed school building as of last night.
A family of three managed to escape unscathed from the incident. The landslide also blocked a river, forming a barrier lake 15 meters wide and seven meters deep.
More than 800 residents living in the lower reaches of the river were moved to safety. Nearly 2,000 rescuers, including police officers and firefighters, were sent to the scene to help with rescue work, the statement said.
Zhu Daqing, head of the publicity department of Zhaotong, a prefecture-level city with jurisdiction over Yiliang, told China Daily the school was closed for the National Day holidays when the landslide occurred, and no other students were there except the 18.
Zhu said conditions on local roads were very difficult.
"It's still raining. Many cars with relief goods are also going to the village, causing traffic jams. It took me one hour to drive just five kilometers," he added.
"The landslide was of a devastating scale," said Peng Hong, an official with the county's publicity department. "As the rain continues to pour down, it is very hard to conduct rescue work."
Tang Shurong, a 40-year-old woman whose home is near the village where the landslide occurred, said the rain on Wednesday night was much heavier than before.
"The rain must have soaked the soil," she added.
Li Zhong, director of the education bureau of Yiliang, said the 18 students were at school to make up for classes suspended during last month's earthquakes.
On Sept 7, multiple earthquakes struck Yiliang county and neighboring areas in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, killing 81 people and injuring 800.
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Xinhua contributed to this story.
(China Daily 10/05/2012 page2)