Hubei: Nine people missing in landslide in China after heavy rains

Footage from China Central Television (CCTV) captures the scale of the devastation after the landslide in the Hubei province

Nine people are missing in central China after a landslide was sparked by heavy rains amid flooding and searing temperatures across much of the country.

Five people were rescued from under the rubble at a highway construction site in the central province of Hubei on Saturday.

Crews were still excavating in hopes of finding more survivors.

Tens of thousands of people have been moved to shelters amid heavy flooding in northern, central, and southeastern China.

Seasonal flooding is a regular occurrence in China, but this year's rising waters have been accompanied by unusually prolonged stretches of high temperatures.

China is being hit simultaneously this summer by heatwaves, flooding and drought.

Cities have opened their air raid shelters to offer residents relief from the heat.

Earlier this week, Beijing reported more than nine straight days with temperatures above 35C (95 degrees Fahrenheit), a streak unseen since 1961.

Authorities have issued health alerts and, in the capital and elsewhere, suspended outdoor work, although many workers continued to deliver packages, lay bricks and haul goods amid fears over a faltering economic recovery.

So far, two deaths in Beijing have been attributed to the scorching heat.

Health authorities said a tour guide collapsed and died of heat stroke on Sunday while giving a tour of the Summer Palace. Last month, a woman in Beijing also died from a heat stroke.

Health authorities in Shaoxing, a city in Zhejiang province, said they have recorded deaths caused by the heat but did not specify any details during a statement on Thursday.

Chinese cities such as Chongqing, a southwestern metropolis known for its torrid summers, have for years used their air raid tunnels as public cooling centers.

The shelters are now often equipped with seating areas and offer access to water, refreshments, heat stroke medicine and in some cases amenities such as Wi-Fi, television and table-tennis equipment.

Earth’s average temperature set a new unofficial record high on Thursday, the third such milestone in a week that already rated as the hottest on record.

Seasonal flooding hits large parts of China every year, particularly in the semi-tropical south.

However, some northern regions this year have reported the worst floods in 50 years.

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