Fujian landslide: Search for the sole missing person continues

World Today

In this Sunday, May 8, 2016 photo, an aerial view shows a building and workers’ dormitory damaged by a landslide in Taining county in southeast China’s Fujian province. Several bodies have been found but dozens of people were still missing Monday following a landslide at the site of a hydropower project after days of heavy rain in southern China, authorities said. Fourteen people have been injured. (Chinatopix via AP)

The search and rescue operation for the sole missing person following the deadly landslide in China’s southeastern province of Fujian continues three days after the disaster. 35 people have been confirmed dead in Sunday’s landslide in Taining county. 

Rescuers said some 120 armed police will be deployed on boats to search for the missing victim along the river at the landslide site.

More than a dozen survivors were hospitalized after the landslide, and four of them have since been discharged. Meanwhile, DNA analysis is underway to identify the victims.

During early hours on Sunday morning, more than 100,000 cubic meters of rocks and mud rushed downhill burying a temporary shed at a hydropower station construction site.

Nearly 200 armed police soldiers and large-scale machines were immediately deployed for search and rescue operations.

Fu Ling, General of People’s Armed Police, said that their soldiers have been using sensitive life detection machines to find survivors.

“We followed one signal but just recovered two bodies,” he said. “The construction site where 33 victims were found has been skimmed to the bottom. We are searching the surrounding area of 100 meters long and 50 meters wide for other missing people. Also, our main task now is to move away the rocks and mud on site and clear the remaining debris.”

While continued rainfall has been hampering some of the rescue efforts, the National Meteorological Center has forecast a break in the rainy weather in most areas of south China for the next two days, including the landslide-hit region. However, the rain will return by Saturday, and more rainfall in the coming days is likely to result in flood in the future.

About 12 kilometers away from the main landslide site in Taining county, more than 4,100 people still remain at risk.

The meteorological center has warned of high risk geological disasters in southern regions due to high water content in the soil. It has also urged local authorities to take measures to prevent possible disasters.

Apart from prompt rescue operations, experts are encouraging authorities to issue early alerts for possible and potential disasters and have pre-hand preparations to minimize the casualty to the lowest level.