At least 20 dead and 24 missing after a landslide in China

Rescue workers search for survivors near damaged houses after a landslide hit Liangshui village in Zhenxiong county of Zhaotong, Yunnan province, China, January 23, 2024. cnsphoto via REUTERS

Twenty people died and another 24 were still missing after an avalanche in a remote mountainous area of ​​the province of Yunnanin southwestern China, state media reported Tuesday.

The disaster occurred shortly before 6:00 a.m. on Monday in the town of Liangshuiin northeastern Yunnan.

Authorities resumed the search operation on Tuesday after temporarily suspending work due to another landslide alert.

More than 1,000 rescuers worked in the middle of the snow with negative temperatures, according to the Ministry of Emergencies. Two survivors were rescued on Monday.

The aftermath of the huge landslide in a village in southwest China

The state news agency Xinhua said that, according to preliminary reports from local experts, the avalanche was caused by the landslide of a higher steep area about 100 meters (330 feet) wide and 60 meters (200 feet) high, with an average thickness of six meters (20 feet), but did not offer further details about what caused the initial collapse.

Members of the rescue services work among the rubble after a landslide in the town of Liangshui, in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan, China. EFE/ Xinhua / Zhou Lei

Rescuers had to deal with snow, icy roads and freezing temperatures that, according to the forecast, will continue for at least the next three days.

The county of Zhenxiong It is about 2,250 kilometers (1,400 mi) southwest of Beijingand reaches an altitude of up to 2,400 meters (7,900 ft).

Heavy snowfall in many parts of China has caused transportation chaos and endangered the lives of many.

Rescuers search for survivors near a damaged house after a landslide hit Zhenxiong county in Zhaotong.. cnsphoto via REUTERS

Last week, rescuers evacuated tourists from a remote ski resort in the northwest after dozens of avalanches caused by heavy snow left more than 1,000 people trapped for a week in a village in Altay prefecture, in the Xinjiang region, near the Chinese border with Mongolia, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Landslides, often caused by rain or unsafe construction, are common in China. At least 70 workers died in such incidents last year, including more than 50 at an open-air mine in Inner Mongolia.

In total, last year natural disasters left 691 dead or missing and caused direct economic losses of about 345 billion yuan (48 billion dollars) in the country, according to the National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Emergencies.

(With information from AP)

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