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Devastating floods in China trigger huge landslide, burying 40

Rescue workers have been called to the scene in a bid to find survivors

The worst flooding witnessed by western China in five decades has triggered a landslide, burying up to 40 people and destroying a high-profile memorial to a devastating 2008 earthquake.

There was no immediate news on whether any of the 30 to 40 people buried in the landslide in the Sichuan province have survived. Rescue workers with search dogs are attending the scene, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Meanwhile, at least 12 workers were killed in the northeast when a violent rainstorm caused an unfinished coal mine workshop to collapse, according to a statement from the city government of Jinzhong.

In nearby Beichuan county, flooding destroyed buildings and exhibits at a memorial for the earthquake five years ago that left 90,000 people missing or dead. The quake left the Beichuan county seat unliveable and the town was abandoned. 27 square kilometres (10 square miles) of ruins were turned into a memorial and museum.

The flooding also caused the collapse of an almost 50-year-old bridge in a neighbouring county, sending six vehicles into turbulent waters and leaving 12 people missing.

State media reported that flooding in Sichuan has affected 360,000 people since Sunday, damaging or destroying 300 homes, and forcing at least 6,100 emergency evacuations.

Mudslides and flooding are a regular occurrence in China's mountainous areas and kill hundreds of people every year. Deforestation has led to soil erosion and made some parts of China prone to mudslides after strong rains.

Additional reporting by agencies