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Eighteen pupils buried in China landslide

A landslide in southwestern China has hit an elementary school in the southwest of the country, burying 18 pupils and another person. The area is still recovering from deadly quakes last month.

The semi-official China News Service reported that the landslide hit Zhenhe village in mountainous Yunnan province at around 8 a.m. local time (0000 GMT), burying a classroom building and two farmhouses.

State television said four pupils have been confirmed dead and 14 others were unaccounted for. An adult was also reported to have been buried in one of the farmhouses.

The state-run news agency Xinhua said local government officials moved local residents to safer ground after the disaster and dispatched rescue teams to the area.

The pupils would not normally have had lessons this week, as China is having a week-long national holiday. But the pupils at the Youfang Primary School were making up for classes missed owing to September 7 quakes in the region.

The village of Zhenhe is in Yiliang county, one of the regions worst hit by last month's earthquakes. The quakes left 81 people dead, another 820 injured and 201,000 displaced.

China remains prone to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and landslides, even though living standards are rising in the country.

tj/cg (AFP, AP, dpa)