Landslide in hilly southern China kills 46

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Associated Press

Posted on January 12, 2013 at 6:31 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 12 at 6:34 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities have pulled out all 46 bodies that were buried by a landslide that swept through a village in the steep, snow-dusted mountains of southern China, state media reported Saturday.

The landslide smothered 14 homes in Zhaojiagou village in Yunnan province, burying 46 people, the local county government of Zhenxiong said on its official website.

The state-run China Central Television said Saturday that all the bodies had been recovered.

By Saturday afternoon, the official Xinhua News Agency had identified all the victims, including 19 children and seven people who were more than 60 years old. The agency ran their names on its website.

The Zhenxiong government said in a statement that the mudslide was caused by soil that had become heavily saturated from continuous rain and snow over the past month.

There were other factors, including the slope's steepness, its poor soil composition and the impact from an earthquake, the government said.

The official statement denied any direct relation between the disaster and mining activities in the area and concluded that the mudslide was a natural disaster.

Photos posted on the website of the Yunnan Daily, the official newspaper of the provincial government, showed rescue crews in orange jumpsuits using construction machinery to sift through massive piles of mud and earth. Behind them stood hillsides and pine trees covered in snow, signs of the unusually cold winter that has hit all of China.

Mudslides occur periodically in the region, which is prone to earthquakes and heavy rains. In a nearby county, 81 people died in an earthquake in September. A month later, a landslide buried a primary school, killing 18 students and one other person.

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