1 dead, 26 missing in east China landslide

1 dead, 26 missing in east China landslide

Fifteen people have been rescued, but more than 20 are missing after a landslide in east China's Zhejiang Province Wednesday, authorities said Thursday, Xinhua reported.

One body was found around 1 p.m. Thursday, and rescuers are racing against time to dig out another victim, after Typhoon Megi brought landslides to Sucun Village, Suichang County at 5:28 p.m. Wednesday.

Ten people are receiving treatment in hospital, according to a statement issued by Suichang county government.

"Roughly 400,000 cubic meters of debris slid down the mountains and buried 20 houses. Seventeen other homes were flooded. A township official who went to help villagers is among the missing," said county official Zhou Ruichen.

Zheng Quanwei, 56, was having dinner 200 meters away from the scene when he heard a loud noise and ran outside. "It was getting dark, but I could see some collapsed houses on the hillside," he said. "There were still some noises."

Video footage from the scene shows debris cascading down the hill around 5:28 p.m. as a landslide engulfed the hillside and people screamed in terror.

"The rocks were flowing down like water. I was running so fast that I even lost one of my shoes," said survivor 58-year-old Su Guohong. "There were five or six villagers running with me."

Seeing the rocks rolling down the mountain, Pan Zhaoxiang abandoned her housework and ran up the mountainside with a group of people. They did not come down until 7:30 p.m.

"When I left my home, I saw two cars being washed into the river. Some people were shouting for help from the water. I am still scared now," she said.

Su Yumin, 64, said he was cooking while taking care of his two grandchildren when he saw a huge rock tumble down.

"I took the kids out of the house. Now the whole family is safe, but 2 tonnes of rice we were drying outside has been lost," he said.

Ye Qinxiang said, "We have ten mu (0.6 hectares) of crops, but all our eggplant, bitter gourd and pumpkin were damaged."

Many houses in the village were swept away and destroyed, and more than 1,400 residents have been relocated to safer areas.

The local government has mobilized more than 2,200 people, 180 excavators and other machines, and other emergency equipment for the rescue.

Volunteer rescuer Du Jin said a barrier lake caused by a secondary landslide had hampered their rescue efforts. "We have to evacuate until the hazard is given the all clear," he said.

According to Du, their team has found three people buried in the debris of a razed house with life detectors.

"The most urgent thing is to find them as soon as possible," he said.

At the site of the disaster, rocks have continued to roll down the mountain, creating barrier lakes. Smaller landslides are also likely.

A temporary camp was set up in a nearby village, where 118 people are now staying.

Wang Zhuhuang, who is over 70 years old, kept crying while a doctor, Zheng Xiuxiu, tried to comfort her. "All of a sudden, three of my family were nowhere to be seen," she said.

Wang's son, daughter-in-law and great granddaughter are missing. Her granddaughter-in-law, who is seven months' pregnant, narrowly escaped death and is receiving treatment.

While waiting to treat survivors, doctor Lei Qiang checked the physical condition of the relocated villagers.

"Several of them suffer from high blood pressure and painful joints, but we only brought medicine for emergency treatment," he said, adding that more medicine was on the way.

Many of the villagers in Sucun Village are elderly people whose children are away studying or working in cities.

"Many of them do not know how to use phones. We have helped them, one by one, to get in contact with their children," said Ying Shuping, who has been helping to install telecom equipment in the temporary shelters.

Baofeng Village was also affected, with six people missing Wednesday night after their homes were destroyed by a landslide.

The six villagers remain missing and rescue work is under way.

Affected by the typhoon, nearly 315,000 residents were temporarily relocated in Zhejiang Province.

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