The final death toll from a landslide that occurred on Monday in a mountainous area of ​​southern China rose to 44 deaths on Thursday, January 25, after rescuers discovered the body of the last missing person, according to state media . A previous report on Wednesday reported 34 deaths.

The drama unfolded before dawn on Monday in the village of Liangshui, located in Zhenxiong county, in Yunnan province, one of the poorest in the country. Eighteen houses were buried and more than 200 people evacuated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on emergency services on Monday to “do everything possible to limit the number of victims”. Some 200 rescuers took part in search operations in snow and sub-zero temperatures.

Footage shared by state media showed rescuers digging through twisted metal and concrete throughout the night, in a bid to locate survivors. Dozens of fire trucks and search equipment could also be seen.

Extreme weather events

The scene of the tragedy is about 1,600 kilometers southwest of Shanghai and 350 kilometers northeast of the provincial capital, Kunming. Landslides occur regularly in the south of the country, particularly after rainfall. China has experienced a series of natural disasters in recent months, some following extreme weather events.

In September 2023, storms in the autonomous region of Guangxi (South) caused a landslide in a mountainous area which killed at least 7 people, according to local press. Around twenty people also died in August after a landslide following a flash flood in a village near the large city of Xi’an (Central). In June, a landslide in Sichuan province (South), also isolated and mountainous, killed 19 people.