Asia-Pacific

Hopes fade for China landslide victims

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Summer rains in China have caused extensive flooding and triggered landslides which have killed dozens and left almost 100 buried at a remote mountain village.

Rescue workers in China have pulled more bodies out of piles of rock and mud as they searched for 93 people still missing a day after a landslide buried a mountain village.

A couple and their two-month-old baby were the only survivors reported to be found alive in the rubble hours after the massive landslide crashed down on the village of Xinmo, in the southwest province of Sichuan as dawn broke on Saturday.

Authorities reduced the number of missing after confirming the safety of 15 people directly or through relatives, according to the official microblog for Xinmo's propaganda department.

Ten more bodies were recovered by early afternoon on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 25, the microblog said.

Geological experts said that chances of survival for the missing were slim, state-owned Xinhua news agency reported.

"We weren't able to pull anyone out alive," said Wu Youheng who lives in a neighbouring village and rushed to help rescue efforts on Saturday.

"We pulled out two people but they were already dead. I think it's too late, they're unlikely to find anyone else alive."

Wu said that the area was prone to landslides, but the scale of Saturday's disaster was unprecedented.

Wu's wife, Zhang Xiaohong, said that they often sleep in other villages because of fear of landslides but can't afford to move to the safer capital of Mao county.

At risk from more landslides in the area, a massive rescue effort involving more than 3000 rescue workers was underway, Xinhua news agency reported.

The names of the missing were posted on government websites, it said.

State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed images of industrial excavators removing rubble from a hillside along with workers in hard hats.

Heavy rain triggered the landslide, although further light showers expected today and Monday were not expected to affect search efforts, CCTV reported.

Reports of the landslide remained largely absent from wider Chinese media apart from Xinhua, CCTV and party mouthpiece People's Daily.

Sichuan province is prone to earthquakes, including a 8.0 magnitude tremor in central Sichuan's Wenchuan county in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people.

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