January 14, 2013 - The land in a Chinese village is quite literally disappearing before the residents' eyes with large sinkholes swallowing up vast spaces.
In the past five months villagers from Lianyuan in southern China's Hunan Province have been left alarmed after seeing over 20 holes suddenly open up in the ground. From last September the cave-ins, which range in size, have seen houses collapse and rivers dry and left villagers terrified about where the next will be.
Initial investigation showed reckless coal mining has damaged the underground water system and caused cave-ins in farm fields and riverbanks in recent months, the China News Service reported today. Over 4,000 villages have now been left with a water supply problem as land subsidence has blocked some creeks, reported Sina. It also cracked the walls of about 20 houses, forcing two families to evacuate.
Photos showed water from blocked creeks was flowing into a big hole in the ground. It is not clear what steps are being taken to prevent further sinkholes from appearing, but the local government has started an investigation. The report said that a compensation plan is being worked out for the affected families. Last February another town in Hunan saw nearly 700 cave-ins, affecting some 1,200 people.