118 missing as landslide engulfs Chinese village

15 dead, Scores Missing Hours After Landslide Buries Chinese Village

The landslide from a high part of a mountain in Aba prefecture hit Xinmo Village in Maoxian County, blocking a 2-km section of river and burying 1,600 meters of road.

Experts say the mountains flanking the village of more than 100 residents are structurally damaged and prone to landslides after two major earthquakes, including a magnitude 7.9 quake that killed almost 90,000 people in 2008 in Wenchuan, 25 miles away.

Fifteen people are confirmed dead, but the number is likely to rise.

Authorities have promised to do all they can to look for survivors.

Mournful wails and firecracker explosions echoed through Xinmo's steep valley as bereaved relatives made their return, many clutching snacks and bottles of wine as offerings for the dead.

The government of Mao county, where the village is located, yesterday posted drone video footage showing mechanical diggers in a vast landscape of rubble.

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They also voiced fears about the possibility of rebuilding homes before winter and what would happened to orphans. More than 320 residents in nearby villages have been evacuated. They told us a central government official was going to come to visit us.

Another relative said the government should have moved them out of an area they knew was prone to landslides.

"We won't give up", said one rescuer. He said they struggled against the water until they met medical workers who took them to a hospital. "This is their home and livelihood and it is very hard to convince them to leave, specially when you only have a hypothesis and predictions".

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 almost 70,000 people.

State television reports showed villagers and rescuers scrambling over mounds of mud and rocks that had slid down the mountainside.

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