Dozens of people are missing after landslide in southern city of Shenzhen

Dozens of people are missing after landslide in southern city of Shenzhen
China Landslide Buries Buildings

BEIJING—A landslide swept through an industrial park in southern China, toppling buildings, swamping the area in mud and leaving dozens of people missing, state media said.

The landslide, which struck the city of Shenzhen shortly before noon Sunday, buried or toppled 33 buildings in the Hengtaiyu industrial park, state media said, citing local authorities. It wasn’t clear what caused the landslide.

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An explosion also occurred on a nearby segment of the transnational West-East natural gas pipeline, state broadcaster China Central Television said.

Rescuers were searching for at least 59 people believed to be missing as of late Sunday evening, while 14 people have been rescued so far, the official Xinhua news agency said. Three of the affected buildings, Xinhua said, were worker dormitories.

Footage aired by state media showed rescuers working under light rain as they searched for survivors in and around buildings toppled by a vast stretch of brown soil that appeared to have flowed from a nearby hillside.
A landslide struck the city of Shenzhen, China Sunday, toppling buildings and leaving dozens of people missing. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang both ordered local authorities to step up efforts to rescue survivors and prevent further casualties, state media said.

Residents told Xinhua that the landslide stemmed from an artificial hill created over the past two years by the dumping of soil excavated from nearby construction sites. Shenzhen, an industrial hub in Guangdong province, didn’t experience major rainfall in recent days, though there was light rain on Sunday morning, Xinhua said.

Rapid urban expansion coupled with lax enforcement of zoning regulations have contributed to other accidents in major cities. In the northeastern city of Tianjin an explosion at a warehouse killed 173 people in August; the government said the hazardous materials warehouse was located too close to nearby apartments in violation of regulations.

Shenzhen, which abuts Hong Kong, is one of China’s most prosperous cities, having been built largely over the past 35 years. The accident occurred in the city’s Guangming New District, a new industrial and residential zone that was set up in 2007 and is home to roughly one million people, according to the district government’s website.

The landslide covered an area of about 20,000 square meters under mud, according to the Ministry of Public Security’s firefighting bureau.

—Olivia Geng contributed to this article.

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