Landslide Buries 18 Children in China

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Earthquakes hit southwestern China on Friday, September 7, 2012 killing at least 64. More than 20,000 houses are believed damaged. (Photo Credit: CNN)

By CY Xu and Jethro Mullen, CNN

BEIJING (CNN) — A landslide buried 18 Chinese elementary school students studying during a public holiday Thursday to make up for classes disrupted by recent earthquakes in southwest China, state media reported.

Rescuers scoured through rubble at a village in Yunnan Province after the landslide struck the school and two houses, according to Xinhua news agency.

A resident was buried in one of the houses, the news agency said. A family of three managed to flee before the landslide hit.

Images carried by state media showed men digging with spades on a mound of mud and rocks at the bottom of a steep hillside.

The village is in Yiliang county, which was hit by a series of earthquakes on September 7 that killed at least 80 people and injured hundreds.

The students were studying to catch up after the earthquakes prompted the suspension of classes for about 20 days, state-run Chinanews.com said, citing the county education commissioner, Li Zhong.

The landslide “engulfed” the primary school, and authorities have relocated other residents to safer locations, Xinhua reported.

A woman who answered the phone at the county education commission’s office did not provide CNN with any details. She said officials authorized to talk to the media are out helping with rescue efforts. Calls to the local information office rang unanswered

— CNN’s CY Xu reported from Beijing, and Jethro Mullen from Hong Kong.