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Nineteen elementary school students were buried, when a massive landslide collapsed on a hillside and smothered part of a village in mountainous southwestern China.

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The Tiantou Elementary School was buried Thursday, killing 19 students who were immersed in the school’s rubble.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency:

The body of a 19th victim was found Friday. It gave no details, but the county government said earlier that a person was missing from a house that had collapsed.

The government also said that a person injured in the landslide was hospitalized.

The landslide dammed a river, causing its water to pool 15 meters (45 feet) across and 7 meters (21 feet) deep around the buried area, hampering rescue efforts and forcing the evacuation of 800 other people, the government said. Rescue teams removed the blockage and the water was subsiding.

Eight-hundred residents were relocated after the landslide occurred at around 8:10 a.m. on Thursday in the village of Zhenhe, Longhaixiang Township of Yiliang County, burying 19, said a spokesman with the landslide disaster relief headquarters.

Rescuers were continuing to drain water off the barrier lake that was formed as the landslide blocked a nearby river. As of 1 p.m. Friday, the water storage volume in the lake had dropped from 20,000 to 1,000 cubic meters, said the spokesman.

The victims’ families were each granted 20,000 yuan (3,160 U.S. dollars) as condolences in accordance with the standards received by the families of victims in the multiple earthquakes that hit the county in early September.

Among the dead, 18 were primary school students. They had been attending classes at the time of the landslide despite the ongoing National Day holiday to make up for school delayed by the quakes.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims of this horrific tragedy.

SOURCE: Xinhua News Agency

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