Yunnan landslide kills 46

CNC report from Zhenxiong
Added On January 12, 2013

A deadly landslide that hit a mountainous region in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan on Friday has killed 46 people.

It comes just months after another fatal landslide buried a school in the same region, killing 19 including 18 children.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, along with other top leaders, have called for major rescue and disaster relief efforts.

Here's the latest.

On Friday morning, the landslide struck Zhaojiagou in Zhenxiong County, some 550 kilometers northeast of Yunnan's provincial capital, Kunming.

Forty-six residents - including 27 adults and 19 children - were buried.

As of Saturday morning, all have been confirmed dead... Ending a desperate search for survivors...

Involving more than a thousand soldiers, police, fire fighters and rescue workers.

Nearby hospitals had also sent doctors to the scene, in the hope of returning those trapped, to health...

But tragically, none were pulled out alive.

"We've found a body here, at first one foot. We cleaned up the earth by excavators, and then we carefully moved the body."

Two others who were injured have been sent to a nearby hospital, and are in stable condition...

But other scars remain:

"When I was out, my house collapsed. I was afraid."

Initial investigations show extreme winter weather caused the landslide.

The steep slope - with a rocky body - had been eroded by icy rain and snow for 10 days straight...

Triggering the 110 meter-wide and 120 meter-long, landslide - engulfing an area the size of eight olympic swimming pools.

While snow continues to blanket this tiny town, a mass evacuation has begun, in case of further disasters.

China's top leaders, including Xi Jinping, Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang, have ordered mass-scale efforts to rescue victims and reduce casualties.

The State Council sent officials and experts to the disaster zone to direct relief work... And lead the exacuation of hundreds of families.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) ZHAI YULONG, Head of Zhenxiong County:
"More than 100 households threatened by possible new landslides have been relocated to a nearby primary school, emergency tents, or the residences of their relatives."

More than 230 tents and 300 quilts have been sent to the region, in addition to hundreds of packages of food and drinking water.

Governments at provincial, municipal and county levels have earmarked 1.6 million U.S. dollars for disaster relief, with an initial subsidy of 1,600 dollars for each affected family.

Local meteorological authorities have also launched an emergency response mechanism, for further major natural disasters in this area.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) ZHAI YULONG, Head of Zhenxiong County:
"We've sent people to disaster-prone areas to monitor the situation, to prevent tragedy from reoccurring."

But this is a region that has been tested by tragedy, time and time again.

Zhenxiong County is adjacent to Yiliang County, where 19 people, including 18 primary school students, were killed in a landslide in October...

And in September, a series of earthquakes - with the strongest registering a magnitude of 5.7 - struck the region, leaving at least 81 people dead in Yiliang...

Making the fate of villagers in the mountains of Yunnan, even less certain.