China landslides kill four, 44 missing

At least four people died and 44 were missing after rain-triggered landslides struck a community in southwestern China, state media reported on Thursday.

The landslides swept through a mountain village near the city of Baoshan in a rugged region of Yunnan province, Xinhua news agency said.

State television said the landslides hit Wama village late Wednesday evening after heavy rain.

Floods and related natural disasters triggered by torrential rains have affected 230 million people nationwide in China this year and resulted in the evacuation of more than 15 million people, the government has said.

Twenty-three people were rescued from the Yunnan landslide debris after the disaster hit, Xinhua reported, and the search for those still missing was under way.

The government said this week that 3,185 people have been killed nationwide in this year’s flood-related disasters, while 1,050 are listed as missing. Much of the flooding has been centred on the Yangtze River in south-central China but cities and provinces across the country have been affected.

A devastating mudslide in the northwestern province of Gansu last month left at least 1,467 dead and 298 missing.

More than 4,150 people are estimated to have died in disastrous flooding in 1998, when heavy rain swelled the Yangtze, China’s longest river, and many tributaries.

Eighteen million people were evacuated and millions of homes were destroyed in those floods, the country’s worst in recent memory.