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On December 20, a landslide swept through the Liuxi industrial park in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province (southern China), burying more than 100,000 squares meters in a sea of mud and leading to 59 people missing and 33 buildings destroyed. The actual number of casualties is still unknown, Xinhua News Agency reports.

Liberty Times reports, the landslide triggered an explosion in gas stations, leading to the collapse of at least 20 factories and many people were trapped. However, some sources point out that the gas pipeline was closed and there wasn’t any leakage of gas.

Ren Yi-ze, deputy chief of Shenzhen’s public security bureau, said that the landslide buried 17 buildings, including two dormitories.

More than thousands of employees in the tens of plastic and mold factories were evacuated beforehand, but there are still people missing. Witnesses say the landslide also buried homes and residents.

China Times reports, according to Shenzhen Business Daily, Lu, a local employee, says he and more than ten of his family members work in the industrial area, but currently only three of them escaped and the rest cannot be reached.

Xiao, who escaped from the landslide, says the collapsed area is mostly packaging and plastic factories, including 15 dormitories. He and his colleagues fled quickly when the landslide occurred, but some workers ran back for their phones and never came out.

Initium Media reports, Shenzhen is located in southern China, where hills and mountains account for more than 70% of the area, in which typhoons and heavy rains happen frequently. But the government has developed the mountains at large scale since the special economic zone was established. This has destroyed the landscape and caused several geological disasters.

So far, the Shenzhen government has invested more than NT$10 billion (approximately US$300 million) to control the soil erosion problem within the past ten years, but has still failed to solve it.

BBC Chinese News quotes The Paper saying, according to local residents, they suggest that the collapsed earth and mud are construction waste that has been dumped over the area in the past two years.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang