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The 2008 Shanxi mudslide was caused by the collapse of an unlicensed mine landfill in Xiangfen county, Linfen, Shanxi Province, People's Republic of China which caused 277 dead, 4 missing and 33 injured.[1] Around 8:00 a.m. on September 8, 2008, the retaining wall of a waste iron ore reservoir collapsed after torrential rain, causing a major mudslide which inundated a village and crowded marketplace.[2] The unlicensed Tashan Mine was operated by the Tashan Mining Company.[3]

2008 Shanxi mudslide
DateSeptember 8, 2008 (2008-09-08)
Time08:00 CST
LocationXiangfen, Shanxi, China
277 dead
4 missing
33 injured



The ore reservoir was built in the 1980s, halfway up a mountain, about 50 meters above an office building, marketplace and some residences. It was built only 100 meters away from the nearest residence.[4] The reservoir was supposedly decommissioned a few years later, but its new owner, Zhang Peiliang, put it back into use when he took over the company in 2005.[3] In 2006, the Tashan Mining Company did not renew its safety production license, and in 2007, the mining license of Zhang also expired.[5]

Damages and casualtiesEdit

The entire village of Yunhe was inundated by the mudslide, including an outdoor market crowded with customers.[2] As of September 24, the Chinese state media reported that the death toll was 267, and the number of injuries 34.[6] Only 128 bodies, mostly of locals, have been identified.[7] Some 268,000 cubic meters of mudslide sludge flooded over an area of 30.2 hectares in the disaster,[8] and the mud was up to six meters deep in some parts.[3]

The final official count is: 277 dead, 4 missing and 33 injured.[1]

A worker had said "It's not because of the rain. It wasn't a natural disaster, it was man-made."[9] Up to 500 people may still be buried, according to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.[10]

Rescue effortsEdit

5,300 police and rescuers, using more than 110 excavators, were looking for survivors.[8][11] The rescuers covered about 90% of the mudslide zone so far.[12] In addition, 2,100 medical workers were at the site to provide medical care.[11]


1,047 people are displaced because of the mudslide.[7] The provincial level government says relatives of the dead will receive 200,000 yuan (US$ 29,215). The Communist Party chief, the head of Taosi township, work safety bureau director, and chief engineer in Xiangfen county were dismissed for neglect of duty.[4] Thirteen mine executives, including Zhang Peiliang, were detained by Chinese authorities, and four other local officials were also dismissed.[13] The State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) said that an investigation is pending, and that the people responsible will be "punished in line with the relevant laws."[13] Wang Jun, the director of SAWS said, "It is the most grave accident that involves the largest death toll so far this year. The rising accidents disclose local governments' poor supervision on work safety. Those responsible must be dealt with seriously."[14] Meng Xuenong, Governor of Shanxi, resigned a day after the event, on September 14.[15] Wang Jun was subsequently transferred to become Governor of Shanxi.

In September 2010, 58 people, including 34 former government officials, were handed out sentences in relation to the collapse.[16]


  1. ^ a b 山西襄汾溃坝事故12名涉嫌职务犯罪嫌疑人被判刑 (in Chinese). Xinhua New Agency. 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
  2. ^ a b Bradsher, Keith (2008-09-12). "Death toll rises from mud flow in Chinese village". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  3. ^ a b c "'Arrests' after China landslide". BBC. 2008-09-12. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  4. ^ a b "Shanxi mudslide, accident of grave responsibility". Xinhua News Agency via China Internet Information Center. 2008-09-12. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  5. ^ Wang, Ru; Wu Jiao (2008-09-12). "Search for mudslide victims on". China Daily. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  6. ^ "Mudslide Death Toll Rose to 267" (in Chinese). Xinhuanet. 2008-09-24. Archived from the original on 27 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
  7. ^ a b "North China mud-rock flow death toll rises to 254". Xinhua. 2008-09-13. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  8. ^ a b "China mud-rock flow death toll rises to 178". Xinhua News Agency. 2008-09-12. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  9. ^ Branigan, Tania (2008-09-10). "'Negligence, not rain' caused deadly China mudslide". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  10. ^ "56 dead after mudslide sweeps through Chinese town: state media". AFP. 2008-09-10. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  11. ^ a b Peng, James (2008-09-13). "Rescuers Dig for China Mudslide Survivors; 178 Confirmed Dead". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  12. ^ "Deathtoll from China mudslide climbs to 178". Reuters. 2008-09-12. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  13. ^ a b Leow, Jason (2008-09-13). "China Suspends Officials in Mine Disaster". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  14. ^ "N China mud-rock flow death toll rises to 151". Chinaview. 2008-09-12. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  15. ^ "Meng Xuenong Resigns" (in Chinese). Xinhua News Agency. 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  16. ^ Xinhua (September 30, 2010). "58 Receive Penalties over Fatal Landslide in China". China Radio International. Archived from the original on 5 October 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2010.