landslide was triggered by the collapse of a steep cliff-top area measuring almost 100 meters in width and 60 meters in height
As the moon cast its silvery glow over the rugged terrain of Zhenxiong County in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, a scene of urgency unfolded beneath the frigid night sky. Rescuers toiled relentlessly through the darkness, their mission clear: to sift through the deep mounds of earth at the site of a devastating landslide that had struck, leaving destruction and despair in its wake.
The grim toll of the disaster had climbed to 11 lives lost, a somber reminder of the challenges faced by rescue workers battling extreme cold wave conditions and freezing temperatures amid a blanket of snow. The urgency of the situation intensified as news agency Reuters reported on the valiant efforts to locate and rescue several dozen individuals buried beneath the rubble.
Guided by the glow of emergency lighting equipment, over 1,000 rescue workers pressed on, their determination unwavering. Equipped with 45 rescue dogs and a fleet of 120 vehicles, including excavators, loaders, and transport vehicles, they embarked on a mission to uncover survivors trapped in the aftermath of the landslide. An additional arsenal of 33 firefighting vehicles and 10 loading machines joined the formidable operation, a testament to the scale of the rescue efforts.
However, the treacherous terrain and unstable soil thwarted the use of large machines, presenting a daunting challenge for the rescuers. The risk of further collapse loomed of Landslide , and the delicate nature of the rescue process demanded caution. A worker, quoted in the report, explained the dilemma: “If the excavation is unloaded below, the top may continue to collapse. It is difficult to carry out large-scale mechanical operations, and it is very difficult to rescue on site.”
Amid the dire circumstances, two individuals found themselves hospitalized for head and body injuries, adding to the toll of those directly affected by the catastrophic event. The gravity of the situation was underscored by the remote location and mountainous terrain, which had become a formidable adversary for the rescue teams.
The landslide had struck with unforgiving force in two villages in Zhaotong city at the early hours of the day, trapping at least 47 people from 18 households. The day unfolded with the heartbreaking discovery of eight bodies, as reported by Zhaotong Daily, a local state-owned media outlet. Witnesses shared harrowing accounts of the calamity, with one man, surnamed Gu, recounting the terrifying moment: “The mountain just collapsed, dozens were buried,” he said, adding that four of his relatives were now entombed beneath the rubble.
The scope of the Landslide tragedy prompted the evacuation of more than 500 people from their homes, while nearly 1,000 rescue workers tirelessly navigated the challenging landscape. President Xi Jinping, recognizing the gravity of the situation, ordered an “all-out” rescue effort, underscoring the severity of the sub-zero temperatures exacerbating the crisis.
In response to the catastrophe, the government swiftly allocated disaster relief funds amounting to 50 million yuan (approximately USD 7 million) to support emergency rescue work. The Ministry of Emergency Management elevated the emergency response level, acknowledging the severity of the situation and signaling a heightened state of readiness.
As the rescue operation continued into the night, questions lingered about the cause of the landslide. The remote, mountainous region, prone to such geological events, had become the focus of preliminary investigations. According to experts, the landslide was triggered by the collapse of a steep cliff-top area measuring almost 100 meters in width and 60 meters in height.
In the wake of the disaster, the collective efforts of rescue workers, emergency responders, and government authorities formed a beacon of hope against the darkness of tragedy of Landslide . The unfolding narrative in Zhenxiong County underscored the fragility of life in the face of natural forces and the indomitable spirit of those dedicated to preserving it.
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