Nearly 100 homes damaged in SW China ground cave-in

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Nearly 100 homes were damaged or collapsed after cave-ins occurred Thursday in south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, rescuers said.

An initial investigation showed that the geological disaster, which affected a total of 40,000 square meters of ground in Maohe village of Liuzhou on Thursday, damaged 94 houses, including eight that collapsed, an official with the rescue headquarters said Sunday.

No casualties have been reported, but the disaster has forced over 1,700 residents to evacuate, said the official.

The cave-in was the result of natural causes and is not uncommon in karst areas like Liuzhou, according a statement from a group of nine experts from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences and local land and resources departments.

It was caused by several factors, including the dissolution of soluble bedrock layers -- which is how karst is shaped -- loose earth and the fluctuation of groundwater levels, according to the statement released Sunday afternoon by the rescue headquarters.

Experts also labeled 85,000 square meters of land as "dangerous areas" and advised against human activities inside those areas until exploration finishes.

Insurance companies and the local government are assessing the losses and will compensate those whose homes were damaged.

Local housing authorities also said they would fill in the sunken area as soon as possible.

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