Witnesses of the landslide late Sunday morning described a mass of red earth and mud racing towards an industrial park in the city of Shenzhen in “huge waves” before burying or crushing homes and factories, twisting some of them into grotesque shapes.
Officials at the site said at least 15 people had been rescued and more than 900 people had been evacuated from the site by Sunday evening. and now more than 91 missing, 59 were men and 32 women.
There are 2,906 rescuers digging through silt and rubble at the industrial park. An explosion in August in the port city of Tianjin that killed almost 200 people was blamed on improperly stored chemicals.
Rapid development in the city, with increasing construction of new buildings and subway lines, has created a large amount of construction mud waste.
“The Liuxi industrial park has completely disappeared, and there were more than 100 people putting in overtime [at the factory] on Sunday”, he said. The mudslide, covering an area of more than 380,000 square metres, was 10 metres deep in parts, Shenzhen vice-mayor Liu Qingsheng told reporters, according to state news agency Xinhua.
The affected buildings include 14 factories, 13 low-rise buildings, two offices, three dormitories and a canteen.
Xinhua said the pipeline was owned by PetroChina, China’s top oil and gas producer, that the 400-metre-long ruptured pipe “has been emptied” and a temporary pipe would be built.
The mudslide, which prompted the evacuation of around 1,500 residents, came after experts warned local officials that the pile was unstable.
“We are providing food and drinks, mattresses and quilts to meet people’s basic needs”, said Chen Jun, a volunteer at Guangming District Sports Center. The rescue headquarters have detected signs of life at three separate locations. The excavators, who arrived at the site on Monday, were the first to be involved in the operation.
They used cutting machines to dismantle the concrete structure after a large pit was dug.
Firefighters reported that mud had swept through the buildings, leaving the “room of survival extremely small”.
The State Council, China’s cabinet, has sent a working group to Shenzhen to help coordinate rescue efforts.
He said the landslide is the worst he’s seen in 30 years.
“It must be a big accident, as I could hear the sound from so far away”, he said.
After running for four or five minutes, she said she glanced back, but saw nothing but thick dust.
An eyewitness surnamed Chen said some of his colleagues have been missing since the mudslide struck. Its exact cause is yet to be known.
He moved to Guangdong in November of that year, when he became the deputy provincial party secretary overseeing Guangdong’s judiciary and law enforcement.
For the past three decades, millions of migrant workers from around China, including many of my relatives, have flocked there to pursue jobs and opportunities unavailable at home.
Shenzhen authorities have launched a comprehensive safety overhaul of seven other construction waste dumps in the city.