Rescue work continued as heavy snow fell on the site of a landslide in mountainous Zhenxiong county, Southwest China's Yunnan Province on Friday, which killed 42 people, according to local authorities.
As of press time on Friday, 42 bodies had been pulled from the mud-inundated debris in Gaopo village, which is nine hours' drive northeast of Yunnan's capital city of Kunming.
Reporters arrived at Zhenxiong county at around 8:40 pm on Friday, and witnessed that the snowy weather had increased the difficulties in rescue work and reduced the possibility of survival for those buried beneath the landslide.
"I heard a sound like thunder, firecrackers or trucks dumping rocks at around 8 am. When I woke up and found some neighbors to follow the sound, we saw that the whole village had already been buried under the landslide," Li Yongju, a villager in neighboring Zengjiazhai village, told the Global Times, adding that it had been snowing for 10 days.
The landslide hit the village around 8:20 am, burying the homes of 14 families. At least 46 people are believed to have been buried, among whom 19 were children.
Two injured people have been sent to a nearby hospital, and their conditions are stable after treatment.
"The landslide, which brought about several hundred thousand cubic meters of watery mud to the village, buried all of the houses there and created great difficulties for rescue efforts amid low temperatures," said Sun Anfa, the leader of a local rescue team.
More than 1,000 rescuers have arrived on the scene to search for the missing people with five excavators and four front loader trucks. More are rushing from nearby regions to assist in the efforts since the landslide took place.
Top leader Xi Jinping on Friday called for efforts to resettle affected residents, prevent secondary disasters and complete relief work and reconstruction to ensure stability.
The provincial civil affairs department has allocated relief materials such as tents, quilts, food and water to the region.
Zhenxiong county is adjacent to Yiliang county, where 19 people were killed in a landslide in October.
In September, a series of earthquakes - with the strongest measured at 5.7 magnitude - struck the region, leaving at least 81 people dead in Yiliang.
A cold front will move toward the region in the coming week, bringing rain and snow to Zhenxiong, according to the Yunnan provincial meteorological bureau.
Provincial and local meteorological authorities have initiated an emergency response mechanism for major natural disasters.
Xinhua contributed to this story