Sunday 25 June 2017

Sichuan landslide feared to have killed over 100 people.

Over a hundred people are feared to have died following a landslide in a remote mountain village in Mao County in Sichuan Province, China, on Saturday 24 June 2017. The landslide struck the village of Xinmo at about 6.00 am local time, sweeping away all of the about forty homes in the village and damming a nearby river. So far only three survivors have been found, a couple and their two month old baby, all of whom are being treated in a nearby hospital, while 25 bodies have been recovered and 93 people are missing. A further 15 residents of the village have been confirmed safe as they were staying outside the community when the landslip occurred. Over three thousand rescue workers, assisted by specially trained dogs, are involved in the ongoing search, though there is thought to be little hope of finding any more survivors.

Rescue workers at the scene of the 24 June 2017 Sichuan landslide. Reuters.

The incident is reported to have been triggered by heavy rainfall in the area. 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. The climate of Sichuan Province is heavily influenced by the Asian Summer Monsoon, with heavy rainfall common in the summer. Xinmo is located on the province's Northern Plateau, where landslides are a common problem due to a mountainous terrain and limited vegetation cover.

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