5 Oct 2012

Chinese catching up on lessons die in mud

8:26 pm on 5 October 2012

All 18 children missing after a landslide buried their classrooms in China's Yunnan province died in the disaster, officials confirm.

Rescuers found the body of the last missing child on Friday, but Chinese state media say one adult is still unaccounted for, the BBC reports.

The torrent of mud and rock hit the Tiantou Primary School and three farmhouses at Zhenhe village in the mountainous south-western province of Yunnan.

Chinese schools are on a week-long national holiday, but the ABC reported officials as saying the children were making up for lost time caused by disruptions stemming from two September earthquakes.

Those two quakes in Yiliang county, where the village is located, killed 81 people and injured hundreds.

Because three buildings at the Shangba Primary School were damaged in the September earthquakes and later demolished, more than 30 of its pupils were catching up on their lessons at Tiantou Primary School.

Safety in schools has been a major public concern in China since a devastating earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008 killed tens of thousands of people.

Many school buildings collapsed in that earthquake, leading to public outcry over shoddy construction and the lack of safety measures.

The landslide on Thursday also blocked a nearby river, reports said.