At least 93 missing after landslide hits mainland village and why it matters to Hong Kong

At least 93 missing after landslide hits mainland village and why it matters to Hong Kong

At least 10 people have died after a landslide hit a village in Sichuan on Saturday morning


Rescuers are searching for survivors after the landslide, as 93 people are still missing.
Photo: Xinhua

At least 93 people remain missing, and 10 are confirmed dead, after a landslide crashed down on the village of Xinmo, in Sichuan, Saturday morning.

Frustration grew today among family members of victims of the landslide, with some complaining about a lack of information, and asking why they had not been moved from an area prone to land slips.

The government has sent some 3,000 rescuers, along with equipment, to the area and has promised to do all it can to look for survivors while restricting access for safety reasons.

The government of Mao county, where the village is located, posted today drone video footage of the disaster zone, showing a dozen or so mechanical diggers shifting through rubble, and promising to release updated information in a timely manner.

Villagers and family members of the landslide victims have complained, saying that they want to go back home and that they have been given limited information about their future.
Photo: Xinhua


About 100 family members, unhappy with what they said was limited information, met with officials at a nearby primary school, saying they wanted to go back home, were concerned about the rebuilding process and whether it would be done by winter, and what would happened to orphaned children.

“These government officials have been lying to us these past three days,” a middle aged man from Xinmo village who has several relatives buried, said after the meeting, declining to give his name.

“They told us we could go back yesterday morning, but they kept delaying and delaying giving us all kinds of excuses. They told us a central government official was going to come to visit us. He showed up and didn’t even bother to speak to us.”

Another relative said the government should have moved them out of an area they knew was prone to landslides.

“There have been landslides before, but no one has ever suggested we move. The government knows it’s dangerous to live in these kind of villages and yet they do nothing,” said the elderly man.

The state-run China Daily cited Xu Qiang, a disaster expert at the Ministry of Land and Resources, as saying large-scale relocations in the area were difficult.

Here’s what you need to know about landslides:

  • Landslides can happen for a few reasons, erosion, deforestation, earthquakes, heavy machine vibrations, cutting into hillsides for building and a change in the soil structure.
  • If a landslide happens and you can’t get away, go to the part of the building farthermost away from the slide. As with an earthquake, try to shelter under a table or strong piece of furniture. Curl into a tight ball and cover your head.
  • If you get out, leave the area as soon as possible because there might be more landslides coming.
  • While Hong Kong is sheltered from most natural disasters, its hilly terrain makes it vulnerable to land slides.
  • The worst landslides in Hong Kong happened in 1972 killing at least 148 people when rains from Typhoon Rose soaked the soil. The largest was at Po Shan Road in the Mid-levels.

Edited by Ginny Wong


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