Zhenhe village in South-Western China’s Yunnan province was hit by a landslide on October 4, 2012 which claimed the lives of 18 school children. The landslide followed days of incessant rain, and stuck the Tiantou Primary School as well as two nearby houses on Thursday. This tragedy follows closely on the heels of two earthquakes that took the lives of 81 people in the same province last month. Apart from the 18 school children, an adult who was missing was also confirmed dead, taking the death toll to 19.
Controversially, China was on a week-long national holiday when the tragedy struck, however the school was allegedly open to compensate for studies that were missed due to the earthquakes last month. The September earthquakes left around 800 people dead and over 200,000 displaced and had damaged schools and property as well. The students from one of these damaged schools were brought in to study at the Tiantou Primary School when the landslide occurred.
The Chinese school system is built around students being under pressure to study hard and perform well, to overcome competition to gain entrance to China’s better institutions. According to our sources, people from villages surrounding the landslide had voiced concerns against sending young children walking, over long distances and muddy mountain passages so soon after the recent earthquakes.
According to media reports, families who lost children will receive compensation amounting to 20,000 Yuan.