|People search for survivors at the site of a landslide that destroyed some 40 households, where more than 100 people are feared to be buried, local media reports, in Xinmo Village, Sichuan Province, China June 24, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer|
The landslide swept over 46 homes as dawn broke at around 6 a.m. in Xinmo village in Maoxian county, a remote mountainous area of north Sichuan close to the region of Tibet, according to the official Xinhua state news agency.
President Xi Jinping urged on the rescue effort, but state broadcaster CCTV reported that by midday the only people rescued were a couple and their two-month-old baby.
Xinhua said the estimated number of missing was provided by local authorities.
The landslide blocked a two-kilometer (1.24 miles) stretch of a nearby river and 1.6 kilometers of road, according to Xinhua.
State television reports showed villagers and rescuers scrambling over mounds of mud and rocks that had slid down the mountainside. Xinhua said there were 400 people involved in the rescue effort and 6 ambulances were at the scene, and more were on their way.
|Rescue personnel work at the site of a landslide that destroyed some 40 households, where more than 100 people are feared to be buried, according to local media reports, in Xinmo Village, China June 24, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer|
Police have closed roads in the county to all traffic except emergency services, the news agency said.
There is an extensive network of dams in the region, including two hydropower plants in Diexi town near the buried village.
A researcher from the Chengdu Chinese Academy of Social Science, a state-backed think tank, told China Radio International that heavy rainfall probably caused the slide. The researcher, whose name wasn't given, also warned of the risk that a dam could collapse, endangering communities further downstream.
The area is prone to earthquakes, including one in 1933 that resulted in parts of Diexi town becoming submerged by a nearby lake, and an 8.0 magnitude tremor in central Sichuan's Wenchuan county in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people.