16 students dead, 3 missing in SW China landslide
Updated: 2012-10-05 02:25
KUNMING - Sixteen primary school students have been confirmed dead and three other people remain missing after a landslide hit a village in southwest China's Yunnan Province Thursday, local authorities said.
The disaster, which occurred at around 8:00 am in the village of Zhenhe, Yiliang County, has also left one person seriously injured and more than 800 locals affected, the county government said at a press conference late Thursday night.
The landslide, estimated to be around 160,000 cubic meters in size, buried 19 persons, including 18 students at the Tiantou Primary School and one villager, the government said.
Six houses near the school were also hit by the landslide, with three buried.
Yiliang was struck by multiple earthquakes on September 7, which left 81 people dead and 800 others injured.
The students, arranged to take classes despite the ongoing National Day holiday to make up for school delays caused by the quakes, had arrived early to make preparations for classes scheduled to begin at 9 am, when the landslide occurred, said Hong Lichang, deputy director with the county's education bureau.
The landslide also blocked a river nearby, forming a barrier lake that is 15 meters wide and seven meters deep.
The government has evacuated more than 800 residents living downstream of the river to safer places and mobilized nearly 2,000 people for the rescue work.
Relief materials, including tents, quilts and food, have been distributed to the relocated residents.
Search and rescue work is still underway.