China Landslide Kills 18 School Children, One Villager [PHOTOS]

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By Ankita Mehta | October 5, 2012 8:26 PM EST

At least 19 people were confirmed dead on Thursday after a landslide struck an elementary school in quake-hit Yunnan Province in southwest China.

Reports said that the 18 of the victims were children aged between 10 and 13. Rescuers recovered their bodies after they began scouring through debris about 18 hours after the landslide hit Tiantou Elementary School.

The landslide, estimated to be around 100,000 cubic meters, also buried one villager, three farmhouses and damaged six homes in Zhenhe village, the Yiliang County government said on its website.

The disaster occurred around 8:10 am during a public holiday, when the students came to school to make up for classes that were stalled due to the recent earthquakes in September. Around 81 people were killed and 800 were injured in the quakes.

Rescuers recovered the body of the villager killed in the landslide later on Friday. No one else is thought to be missing as of now, reports said.

The mud slide happened after several days of rain in Zhenhe, said Yang Jianping, squadron leader of Yiliang County Armed Police, in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV.

"When we arrived, we saw one side of the mountain had collapsed and covered the primary school. We can't recognize the school at all," CNN quoted Yang Jianping as saying.  

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