The southern city of Shenzhen, China was struck by a powerful landslide right before noon local time Sunday. According to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, 91 people have been reported missing with no confirmed deaths as of Monday morning. 1,500 rescue workers continue to search the rubble in hopes of recovering survivors.
According to Shenzhen’s emergency response office, only seven individuals were rescued overnight and 13 have been hospitalized overall due to the landslide – three of which are reportedly in serious condition. It was also reported that over 900 people had been evacuated from the industrial area in southern China as of Sunday evening.
The New York Times stated that the cause of the landslide in the southern Chinese city was due to a build up of construction debris and earth that was deposited on the side of a hill for the past two years which eventually gave way with assistance from the heavy showers hitting the region. According to local officials, three of the 33 buildings that were destroyed by the waste build up were dormitories for workers, highlighting the lack of care and safety companies provide for their workers in China. The landslide affected an area of 380,00 square meters.
The Ministry of Land and Resources has claimed to have provided additional personnel to assist with the containment of the debris and keep guard in case of a second collapse.
“The pile was too big, the pile was too steep, leading to instability and collapse,” the ministry stated.
Local workers in Shenzhen have admitted to the local news agency that hundreds of trucks carrying construction waste would dump trash every day into the pile that caused the landslide every day.
The claim raises questions as to whether the tragedy could’ve been prevented with better supervision and order.
A migrant worker by the name of He Weiming from the Henan Province, informed local media that many of his relatives were buried in the rubble caused by the landslide.
“My father, mother, son, daughter, wife, sister and her child, sister-in-law and her three children and other five workers were all in there,” he said.
“I’ve made more than 40 calls; none of them got through. At first they didn’t go through, and now the phones are powered off. When my brother and I left home in the morning, everything was fine. But when we got back around 11:40 a.m., our house had been buried. You couldn’t even see the top of the once four-meter-high building.” Mr. Weiming continued.
Local reports claim that Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has ordered provincial authorities to do everything in their power to minimize casualties while treating those injured and comforting afflicted family members.
Shenzhen is located in the southern portion of the Guangdong Province in China. The city neighbors Hong Kong, which sits directly south of it’s border. It has developed into one of China’s leading economies over the last thirty years, becoming China’s first and most successful Special Economic Zones, which were developed back in 1980 to establish themselves (China) as a global economic player.
China is no stranger to industrial mishaps, according to the Chicago Tribune, the landslide is the fourth major disaster to hit China this year with three of them stemming off human error, continually raising questions and concern over their regulations towards safety and employee care.
As one of the world’s leading economies, China is far from answering the call when it comes to labor standards and environmental safety. As of Monday, a four-day smog red alert, the most severe on a four-tier system, continued in China’s capital city of Beijing, forcing schools to close and half of the city’s cars off the roads.
(Photo via AP images)