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16 killed as landslide hits school

At least 16 students were killed and three other people were missing after a landslide hit a school in a mountainous area of south-western China, a state news agency said.

Eighteen students were buried at Tiantou Primary School and a 19th victim was buried in a house, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Another person was seriously injured in the landslide, which happened in an area ravaged by a deadly earthquake last month, it said.

About 2,000 local people, medics, police and military personnel were trying to rescue the victims, the Yiliang county government said on its website. Sixteen of the students were confirmed dead, Xinhua said.

The landslide hit the school building and two farmhouses in Zhenhe village at around 8am local time, the county government said.

More than 800 people living near a river blocked by the landslide were evacuated.

Rescuers rushed from the Yiliang county seat to Zhenhe three hours away to dig out the students, said Peng Hong, an official with the county foreign affairs office.

Mr Peng said the cause of the landslide was not yet known, but Yiliang was struck by an earthquake last month, killing 81 people and devastating several villages. In addition, rain has lashed the region of mountains and sheer valleys.

Though the day was a holiday across China, students were in school to make up for days missed after the earthquake, Mr Peng said.

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