Tue, August 11, 2009
China > Mainland > Typhoon Morakot slams Taiwan

Landslide buries unknown number of residents

2009-08-11 02:19:27 GMT2009-08-11 10:19:27 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

People row a dragon boat to commute through a flooded area in Cangnan county, in east China's Zhejiang province, Monday Aug. 10, 2009. (AP Photo)

A rescuer carries a man in Chishan, Kaohsiung county, after he was evacuated by military helicopter from a landslide affected village in southern Taiwan following Typhoon Morakot, August 10, 2009. (Reuters Photo)

Two women hold each other in a local emergency room after being rescued by helicopter from a village covered in a landslide from Typhoon Morakot in Kaohsiung county, southern Taiwan, Monday. Aug. 10, 2009. (AP Photo)

An unidentified woman holds a child rescued by helicopter from a village covered in a landslide from Typhoon Morakot in Kaohsiung county, southern Taiwan, Monday, Aug. 10, 2009. (AP Photo)

A general view of a flooded street is seen after Typhoon Morakot swept through the area, in Cangnan county in east China's Zhejiang province Monday Aug. 10, 2009. The powerful typhoon toppled houses, flooded villages and forced nearly 1 million people to flee to safety on China's eastern coast before weakening into a tropical storm Monday. (AP Photo)

A massive landslide triggered by a deadly typhoon toppled at least six apartment buildings burying an unknown number of residents in eastern China, a state news agency said Tuesday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the landslide in the town of Pengxi, in Zhejiang province's Wenzhou city, was triggered by heavy rains carried by the storm Morakot, which has already killed six people and left three missing in mainland China.

The landslide destroyed at least six four-story apartment buildings at the foot of a mountain at 10:30 p.m. local time, Xinhua said.

"At that moment I was watching the news on TV and suddenly I heard rumbling sounds," a resident living in the neighborhood told China Central Television. "I stood up and listened to the sound across the street, and in about one second the whole building came crashing down."

Xinhua cited rescuers as saying it was not immediately known how many people were buried. Six people were pulled out alive, although one was in critical condition. Search operations were hampered by the huge amount of mud and rock, Xinhua said.

Typhoon Morakot, which means emerald in Thai, forced the evacuation of 1.4 million people in eastern China. It landed Sunday in Fujian province after slamming Taiwan over the weekend with as much as 80 inches (two meters) of rain.

Taiwanese authorities put the confirmed death toll in Taiwan at 23, but that seemed certain to rise. The storm triggered a mudslide that buried a remote mountain village, leaving at least 400 people unaccounted for. Military rescue helicopters, unable to land because of the slippery ground, dropped food to desperate survivors.

The storm inflicted the worst flooding the island has seen in at least a half-century, submerging large swaths of farmland in chocolate-brown muck and swamping city streets.


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