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China landslide crushes buildings

China landslide crushes buildings
11.08.2009

 

Officials say they have managed to pull six people alive from the rubble in the town of Pengxi in Zhejiang province.

The landslides were triggered by heavy rains caused by Typhoon Morakot, which has swept across parts of East Asia.

Meanwhile in Taiwan, hundreds of people are feared dead after a mudslide caused by the typhoon buried a small village.

'One second'

Chinese reports say it was 2230 local time (1430 GMT) on Monday when the landslide hit Pengxi, near Wenzhou city.

 

A witness told Chinese television it took "one second" for the mud and rocks to engulf the four-storey apartment buildings.

The BBC's Quentin Sommerville says six or seven apartment blocks with an estimated 28 families in each are buried in the rubble.

Two people have been confirmed dead so far and the death toll is expected to rise, he adds.

Xinhua reports that the rescue operations are being hampered by the large amounts of debris that have fallen onto them.

Morakot weakened to a tropical storm early Monday, but it has still been lashing south-eastern China with heavy rain.

Over a million people have been evacuated from their homes and six deaths have been reported - including four in Zhejiang province, and two others in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces.

State news agency Xinhua said hundreds of villages and towns had been flooded and more than 2,000 houses and buildings had collapsed.

Deadly path

Before ploughing into China, Typhoon Morakot dropped some 2 metres (80in) of rain on Taiwan this weekend, causing the worst flooding in five decades.

Rescue operations resumed on Tuesday morning to find survivors from a mudslide on Sunday in the south-western mountain village of Shiao Lin that buried about 600 people.

 

The BBC's Cindy Sui, who is in the area, says about 50 people have been rescued and another 150 found alive elsewhere in the village.

Helicopters were dropping food and trying to air-lift survivors from the village, where roads have been washed away, and power and water supplies cut.

Elsewhere in Taiwan, the number of confirmed deaths is 38, with dozens more injured and missing, officials said.

Morakot also dumped heavy rains in the north of the Philippines, killing at least 22 people last week.

In Japan, Typhoon Etau - packing winds of up to 108km (67 miles) an hour - has set off flash floods and landslides that have killed at least 12 people.

It is forecast to hit the Tokyo area on Tuesday, amid nationwide warnings of heavy rain and landslides.

Typhoons and tropical storms are frequent in the region between July and September.

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