Classes suspended after landslide tragedy

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"We’ve also asked and urged officers on duty in these schools to make checks related to fire, health and food safety," he said.

Hong did not explain how students would be enabled to continue their studies at home and said he is not sure when they will return to class.

"It all depends on how much time and work the evaluations take," he said.

"After all, the circumstances are different at every school."

Zhou Litang, a 44-year-old resident of the county, said his two sons returned home on Saturday afternoon and were not told exactly when their classes would resume.

"They were not given homework," he said. "All they can do is just review previous lessons."

He said he is also worried about the safety of their schools, which are surrounded by mountains.

He said his sons’ minds may have also been affected by the landslide and earthquakes, saying they are now afraid to go to school.

Peng Hong, a county publicity official, said the government has given each victim’s family 20,000 yuan ($3,160) in compensation and will help them arrange funerals for their loved ones.

"The reconstruction work has also started, although it’s difficult to do it on a rainy day," he said.

Geological experts have said the landslide resulted from the nearly continuous rain seen in the past month, from the county’s geological conditions and from the recent earthquakes.

Experts and emergency responders from the provincial government and the Ministry of Land and Resources said the area where the disaster occurred received about 297 mm of rain from Sept 1 to Thursday, three times the amount seen during the same period in 2011.

Experts said the earthquake loosened rocks and soil and said the mountain slope where the mudslide originated now poses further risks.

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