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Death toll from China highway collapse rises to 48

The collapse of a highway in southern China killed 48 people, according to a new report published today. Thursday by state media, while rescuers were still working on the site.

Intense rain caused a section of road from Meizhou city to Dabu county to collapse around 2:10 a.m. Wednesday (6:10 p.m. GMT Tuesday). Heavier than normal at this time of year, just before the monsoon season, these rains are linked to climate change, experts believe.

Vehicles have were thrown into the nearly 18 meter long gash in the tarmac and rolled down the steep slope below.

“Reporters learned at a press conference in Meizhou City, Guangdong, that the highway collapse disaster…resulted in the deaths of 48 people,” the agency reported official China News Thursday afternoon, while the death toll was 36 in the morning.

“In addition, the DNA of three people is being compared and confirmation”, indicated Chine Nouvelle, without specifying whether these three victims were included in the 48 people who died.

Thirty people were also injured but their lives are not threatened, according to the same source.

Footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed excavators digging into the muddy hillside beneath the collapsed road. Nearby, a crane was lifting charred and destroyed vehicles onto a truck, under the eyes of people held behind a security cordon.

President Xi Jinping ordered authorities to “double down on rescue operations and treatment of the injured,” CCTV reported.

About 500 people were dispatched to the site to participate in the relief efforts.

The provincial government “mobilized specialized elite forces and went out of its way to carry out search operations and rescue”, according to New China.

– “Geological disaster” –

State media called the road collapse a “natural geological disaster” caused by “the impact of persistent heavy rains” that fell in the densely populated industrial province in recent weeks, causing severe flooding and landslides.

“Intensifying climate change increases the likelihood of heavy rains that generally only appear during the summer months,” Yin Zhijie, head of hydrological forecasting at the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, said last month. on Chinese National Radio

Parts of central and eastern Guangdong, China's manufacturing heartland, received up to 600 millimeters of rain in the over the past ten days, three times more than the amount normally expected at this time of year, the National Weather Bureau said Thursday.

Up to 120 Additional millimeters of rain are forecast for southwestern areas of the province on Thursday, along with further showers in southern China through Sunday.

These conditions “increase the risk of disasters, especially geological disasters, which have a certain latency time,” the weather bureau said.

China is the first emitter of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change, but it has committed to reducing its emissions to zero by 2060.

The authorities have urged people to carefully plan their travel during the May holiday, which lasts until Sunday.

Last month, heavy rains in Guangdong caused flooding which led to the death of four people and the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.

Last week, a tornado killed five people as it crossed the megalopolis of Canton, the provincial capital.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116