Firefighter's wrinkly feet after 30 hours searching for landslide survivors

This grim picture shows the feet of a Chinese firefighter who spent more than 30 hours wading through wet mud in search of landslide survivors.

The unnamed fireman’s feet looked deathly pale and were wrinkled like prunes after being called to the disaster in Hubei province on Wednesday in which nine people were buried in the ground.

China is facing its worst floods in 33 years due to heavy rain, with at least 38 million people evacuated from their homes and more than 100 dead so far. Several provinces have gone into ‘wartime mode’ to combat what state media has described as a ‘flood catastrophe’.

A total of 69 firefighters were sent to the landslide in Hubei’s Huangmei county in the early hours of July 8. After 30 hours, all nine residents were found, but the only survivor was an elderly woman who authorities say is in a stable condition.

From June 1 to July 7, rainfall in the regions of Hubei, Anhui, Zhejiang and Chongqing has reached the highest levels for this time of year since 1961, with accumulated water two to three times higher than normal in some places.

As many as 33 rivers have reached record high water levels while a total of 433 have been flooded.

On Sunday China’s president Xi Jinping called on authorities in stricken regions to be ‘courageous’ as they rush to help residents.

Flooding in the country’s southern regions have been blamed on fresh outbreaks of African swine fever which could see a shortage of bacon across the world.

China’s hog herd, by far the world’s largest, shrank last year by around 180 million pigs (40%), after farms were decimated by the incurable disease.

As producers build new farms, restock and try to follow better hygiene methods recent flooding has been a massive setback.

Farmers typically bury infected pigs, and the rains may have spread the disease via groundwater, according to analysts.

However the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported a dozen outbreaks of the fever in March and April, indicating it was spreading before the downpours started.

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