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Rescuers search for 107 in China landslide

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BEIJING (AP) — Hope of finding survivors of a landslide that trapped at least 107 people was diminishing Tuesday as rescuers used heavy machinery including bulldozers to move debris in rain-hit southwestern China.

Villagers huddled in tents set up at the site as rescuers searched for their family members. The first body was pulled out late Tuesday, the official Xinhua News Agency said, only identifying it as that of a child.

There appeared to be little hope for survival, with no word on casualties or survivors by noon Tuesday, said Tian Maosheng, an official from Guizhou Communist Party Propaganda Department, who is helping with the rescue.

“The number 107 remains unchanged, and there is still no sign of life here,” he said.

State media reported that villagers had compiled a list of 62 people they believed were buried. Officials have not commented on the accuracy of the list.

Homes were buried when the landslide struck the village of Dazhai in Guizhou province on Monday afternoon after days of torrential rains. An official interviewed by state broadcaster CCTV said nearly half a hill had collapsed.

Makeshift tents were set up as first aid stations and soldiers carrying villagers waded through water and mud as they evacuated residents, CCTV showed. More than 1,000 villagers have been evacuated and around 500 more are waiting to be relocated, Xinhua cited a spokesman of the rescue headquarters as saying.

Light rain on Tuesday morning hindered rescue efforts, threatening to wash more mud down the slopes, but began to subside later in the day.

CCTV showed rescuers in orange overalls along a winding mountain road and later bent over a large mound of earth, tugging at large concrete slabs buried in it.

Large areas of southern China have been hit by flooding in the last two weeks, with at least 377 people killed and another 142 missing — not including those from Monday’s landslide. More than 3 million people have fled their homes over the past two weeks, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

On Sunday, floodwaters began receding in the hard-hit south and workers finished repairing a dike breach that forced the evacuation of 100,000 people.

The large landslide is about 120 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of Guiyang, the provincial capital.