Rescuers recovered five bodies, while an injured survivor, an 81-year-old woman, has been hospitalized, according to Chinese state media. Local authorities evacuated more than 40 villagers from the area while the search continued for those still believed buried in the debris.
A local villager who was among the evacuees expressed concern that those who are missing may not survive.
“There’s barely any room to breathe under the mud,” she told The Epoch Times. Three of those who were buried are children, according to the villager. It’s unclear whether any of the children were among the five dead, as officials haven’t revealed details.
The accumulated rainwater in her area had already risen to waist-high levels when the landslide occurred, the villager said, leaving her unable to help. The village’s electricity and water had been temporarily cut because of the flooding.
“I just hope the rain will be less harsh today,” she said.
Nationwide, floodwaters have crushed 170,000 houses and inundated more than 3.8 million acres of agricultural crops. The government has confirmed at least 121 people dead or missing as of July 3, although experts believe the true numbers may be higher, given the regime’s tendency to keep a tight lid on negative news.
Huanggang, a mountainous city in the eastern portion of Hubei Province, was also among the worst-affected regions by the CCP virus pandemic that originated in nearby Wuhan, the provincial capital. Situated along the Yangtze River, Huanggang also has experienced some of the city’s heaviest rainfall in the past two days.
Multiple counties nearby have been swamped by waters a meter deep (3.28 feet), villagers said. Mr. Yang, from Dahe county, woke up at 3 p.m. on July 8 to find water pouring into his house, submerging two cars. Like his neighbors, he grabbed all he could and rushed to the upper floor.
“Good that I found it out early,” he said in an interview. “It’s a world of water everywhere, so where can you go?”
A pharmacist who lived on the same street also escaped unscathed, although the water toppled the desks in his building and drenched all his products.
At a nearby high school, the floodwaters rose to more than five feet high on July 8, trapping about 500 high school seniors inside. The students, who live on campus, eventually took canoes to reach the designated site for taking college entrance exams.
The continuous rain has overwhelmed local drainage systems, and deformed a medium-sized dam in Xishui county in Huanggang two days earlier, leading to the emergency evacuation of 28,000 local residents.
The accumulated rainfall in the regions of Hubei, Anhui, Zhejiang, and Chongqing since June 1 are at the highest levels since 1961. In some places, the rainfall was two times higher than normal levels, the China Meteorological Administration said. The office, in an earlier flood alert, also warned of possible landslides in the southern provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui, and Jiangxi.
A reservoir in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang, began discharging water on July 7. All nine of its floodgates were opened on July 8 for the first time since its construction 61 years ago, after “water levels continued to rise rapidly,” according to state media.