Landslide in Chinese Village Buries At Least 10 Households, Killing 7

August 22, 2020 Updated: August 22, 2020

Continuous heavy rains and flooding in Sichuan Province have led to the formation of deadly landslides.

Authorities provided limited information on casualties thus far.

But local media reported that around 3:50 a.m. on Aug. 21, a landslide occurred at the Zhonghai village in Hanyuan county, Ya’an city, resulting in 7 deaths and 2 people missing. The landslide had a total volume of about 800,000 cubic meters.

In some online videos captured by locals, a road near the landslide could be seen heavily damaged. One villager said in a video that the township hospital was also buried in the landslide.

Local villagers said that the official evacuation notice came too late, and thus 10 families who could not leave in time were buried underneath. Local authorities had not made arrangements for evacuees; villagers had to find hotel accommodations themselves.

Mr. Zhu, a restaurant owner in the village, told The Epoch Times that there are about 200 to 300 households in the area. The landslide buried about 10 households, he said, but the exact number of impacted villagers is still unclear.

“There is a family of four buried. Two children and two elderly,” Zhu said. “It is so sad…It is impossible for the buried ones to survive.”

Zhu and his wife escaped with their two children. Fortunately, his elderly parents were not home, as just two days ago, his parents left to visit his brother in the county. But his newly remodeled house, restaurant, and the cows and 200-plus carrier pigeons he raised were buried by the landslide.

Zhu was angry that the authorities’ evacuation notice was issued so late, leaving him no time to take his valuables.

He said Hanyuan county experts were sent to the village to inspect the area on Aug. 20. While having lunch at his restaurant, the experts did not mention risks of landslides or flooding. It was not until about 9 p.m. that day that villagers were told to evacuate.

Zhu said authorities should have issued the notice during the day so the elderly could evacuate safely.

Zhu took the cash from his restaurant cashier before evacuating. But due to the pandemic, the restaurant business has suffered, and he only has enough to cover expenses and workers’ wages.

He was worried about future prospects. “[I’m] like a farmer at an old age. How much longer can I really work? I’ll just have to see.”

Zhu was also disappointed that the local government did not arrange temporary shelters for villagers after the landslide. His family is staying at a hotel about one kilometer away (0.62 mile) from their house.

The village was severely damaged. “Now the roads are ruined. We can’t go out, and no one can come in. We are now isolated from the world,” Zhu said.

Authorities also said they provided villagers with temporary tents, but did not give information on where people can go to collect them, according to Zhu.

At around 9:30 am on Aug. 21, a landslide occurred at a section of the G108 National Highway in Shaanxi Province, near the Liuhe village in Zhouzhi county. Local media said the collapsed area was more than 2,000 square meters and caused traffic disruption. Due to continuous heavy rains, rocks continued to fall off the mountains.