BEIJING: The death toll from a landslide that destroyed a Chinese village has risen to 15, state media reported Friday.
Half of a 600-metre high knoll near Fuquan city in the southwestern province of Guizhou broke free and “wiped out a majority of the village” at its base, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Rescue workers were still trying to extract survivors from the debris, it added. Pictures showed emergency personnel levering up huge slabs of tiled wall.
A total of 77 houses were destroyed when the disaster struck Wednesday evening, Xinhua said citing local authorities, with 15 people confirmed dead and eight missing. Another 22 were injured.
Most of the residents were children or elderly, it said, as many working-age villagers had moved to the cities.
Guizhou is one of the poorest provinces in China, and renowned for its hilly topography and wet weather.
Mining is one of its key industries but soil erosion is among the worst in China, with around 42 percent of the province affected,according to an official national survey in 2009.
Guizhou neighbours Yunnan, which was hit by a 6.1-magnitude earthquake earlier this month that killed more than 600 people.