Massive landslide buries 83 miners in Tibet

Massive landslide buries 83 miners in Tibet

PanARMENIAN.Net - No signs of life have been detected at a gold mining site in a mountainous area of Tibet more than 24 hours after a massive landslide buried 83 workers, Chinese state media said Saturday, March 30, according to The Associated Press.

The state-run China Central Television said more than 2,000 rescuers have been dispatched to Lhasa's Maizhokunggar county to search for the buried.

About 2 million cubic meters of mud, rock and debris swept through the area as the workers were resting and covered an area measuring around 4 square kilometers, CCTV said.

The miners worked for a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corp., a state-owned enterprise and the country's largest gold producer. A woman who answered the call at its Beijing headquarters Saturday said she could not provide any information.

The disaster is likely to inflame critics of Chinese rule in Tibet who say Beijing's interests are driven by the region's mineral wealth and strategic position and come at the expense of the region's delicate ecosystem and Tibetans' Buddhist culture and traditional way of life.

The reports said at least two of the buried workers were Tibetan while most of the workers were believed to be ethnic Han Chinese, a reflection of how such large projects often create an influx of the majority ethnic group into the region.

The more than 2,000 police, firefighters, soldiers and medics deployed to the site, about 70 kilometers east of Lhasa, the regional capital, conducted searches armed with devices to detect signs of life and accompanied by sniffer dogs, reports said.

Around 30 excavators were also digging away at the site late Friday as temperatures fell to just below freezing.

The reports said the landslide was caused by a "natural disaster" but did not provide specifics. It was unclear why the first news reports of the landslide came out several hours after it occurred.

China's President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang ordered authorities to "spare no efforts" in their rescue work, Xinhua said.

Doctors at the local county hospital said they had been told to prepare to receive survivors but none had arrived. "We were ordered to make all efforts to receive the injured," said a doctor who gave only her surname, Ge, in the hospital's emergency section.

On Saturday morning, a hospital staff member who gave her surname of Wu said it had received no one from the landslide, dead or alive.

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