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China Floods: Up To 40 Buried In Landslide

Between 30 and 40 people have been buried by a landslide in China's Sichuan province, as heavy rains in the area also destroyed homes and bridges.

The landslide in Zhongxing on Wednesday morning was triggered by days of rain, the local fire brigade said on its verified website.

A Zhongxing official said that "so far we only know 11 families were buried and more than 200 residents have been evacuated", but that workers were still searching for others.

Much of China has been hit by heavy rainfall in recent days, including most of Sichuan, where homes have been destroyed and three bridges have collapsed since Monday.

Rescuers are searching for 12 people missing after a bridge in Jiangyou, Sichuan, collapsed on Tuesday, local officials said.

Six vehicles were confirmed to have plunged into the Panjiang River after the bridge collapsed, the Jiangyou government said.

But Lin Rui, who was driving a minivan across the bridge and swam to safety through a torrential river, believed the figure could be higher.

He said there were 15 to 18 vehicles on the structure at the time.

"There were several cars ahead of me," he told state broadcaster CCTV. "A bus or a coach, I can't remember clearly, was running ahead."

A man also died in Shifang in Sichuan on Tuesday after a three-storey building collapsed as a result of the floods, which have been described as the worst in the region in 50 years.

The building housed the offices of a local mine.

More than 480,000 people have been affected by the torrential rains, according to a government estimate on Wednesday.

The landslide also destroyed a high-profile memorial to a devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.

In Beichuan, the flooding destroyed buildings and exhibits at the memorial for the earthquake that left 90,000 people dead or missing.

The quake left the Beichuan region unliveable, and the abandoned ruins were turned into a memorial and museum.

Landslides and flooding are common in China's mountainous areas, killing hundreds of people every year.

Deforestation has led to soil erosion and made some parts of China prone to mudslides after strong rains.

China's deadliest natural disaster in three decades struck in Sichuan in 2008, when an earthquake left more than 80,000 people dead. Shoddy building construction was blamed for the high number of deaths.