SHENZHEN: At least 85 people were missing in China on Monday a day after a giant flow of mud and construction waste spewed out of an overfull dump in a boomtown and buried 33 buildings in its latest industrial disaster.
The site should have been closed in February, but workers said mud and waste had continued to be dumped there, a news portal run by authorities in the southern city of Shenzhen said.
Premier Li Keqiang ordered an investigation into Sunday’s landslide in the city, just across the border from Hong Kong.
The mudslide smashed into multi-storey buildings at the Hengtaiyu industrial park in the Guangming New District, toppling them within seconds in collisions that sent rivers of earth skyward.
“The mud had been building up for a few years,” said Han Bin, who lives by the site and witnessed the wall of mud sweep toward the buildings on Sunday.
“We didn’t realize this could happen.”
The frequency of industrial accidents has raised questions about safety standards after three decades of breakneck growth in the world’s second-largest economy. Just four months ago, more than 160 people were killed in big chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin.
State television showed devastation in Shenzhen, with bits of broken buildings sticking up from heaps of mud stretching out over the industrial park.
More than a year ago, a government-run newspaper warned Shenzhen would run out of space to dump waste from a building frenzy.