Sunday, 6 October 2013

Seven killed in landslide in Qinghai Province, northwest China.

Seven people have died in a landslide in the mountain village of Xinzhai in Datong County in China's Qinghai Province, at about 4.20 pm local (about 8.20 am GMT) time on Saturday 5 October 2013. It is understood that the seven, described as five women and two men all belonging to the same family, were apparently digging out foundation for a new home for a relative when part of a hillside collapsed upon them. Two other family members escaped unhurt. All of the bodies were recovered within four hours.

Rescue workers at the site of the Xinzhai landslide on 5 October 2013. Xinhua.

Northwest China and other areas of south and east Asia have suffered a string of fatal landslides this year due to an exceptional Monsoon Season which has brought the highest rainfall to the area in 80 years. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. However on this occasion it is thought that the event was triggered by the digging rather than the weather, the site having apparently not been chosen well and insufficient safety precautions taken.

The approximate location of the 5 October 2013 Xinzhai landslide. Google Maps.

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