The death toll in a landslide that hit a village in southwest China's Yunnan Province rose to 46 today, with a top expert saying that last year's earthquakes which shook the hills around the area were a contributing factor to the disaster.
Earthquakes that struck Yiliang county in southwest China's Yunnan province last September were a contributing factor to yesterday's landslide in Gaopo village in Zhenxiong county, an expert said today.
The death toll was put out at 46 after officials said the last body was pulled out today.
Over 1000 rescuers in orange jumpsuits, using construction machinery, retrieved the victims after digging for nearly 24 hours through massive piles of mud and earth.
The landslide hit the area around 8 am (local time), yesterday.
Forty-six residents -- 27 adults and 19 children -- were buried in the rock and mud debris.
Two other injured persons were sent to a nearby hospital, and it has been confirmed that their injuries were not life-threatening, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Jiang Xingwu, head of a group of geological disaster prevention expert, told media that steep slopes, unstable soil and recent precipitation contributed to the landslide.
Jiang said earthquakes that jolted Yiliang county on September 7, last year, were also a factor.
Chinese leaders Xi Jinping, Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang have ordered all-out efforts to rescue victims of the landslide in order to minimise casualties from the disaster.
Xi, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said efforts must be made to resettle affected residents, prevent secondary disasters and successfully complete relief work so as to ensure stability.