Chinese couple cling to hope as US$290,000 villa teeters on edge of landslide lake

Construction area around abandoned quarry has become increasingly unstable in recent years

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 June, 2017, 5:49pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 5:42pm

A couple in southern China are clinging to hope that there will be no further heavy rain in their city before winter as their 2 million-yuan (US$295,000) villa literally teeters on the edge of an abandoned quarry that has been filling up with water since last year, making the surrounding steep slopes increasingly unstable, local media reports.

The couple, originally from Hunan province,bought the luxury home several years ago in Zengcheng, a hill-side suburb of Guangzhou, The Southern Metropolis News reported.

But before they moved in last year, they discovered that the area around their villa began to suffer from unexpectedly heavy floods that sparked landslides and closed roads following a red-alert rainstorm – the most severe in a four-tier warning system – last June, the report said.

Concerns were raised again in late May after another downpour hit the district, which saw the pond in the man-made crater begin forming a lake as mud blocked outlets for the water and slopes became weaker, the husband, who was not named, told the newspaper.

The local government said the quarry was abandoned some years ago following complaints from local residents.

However, without properly engineered outlets, water has accumulated in the crater faster than it can run off during recent downpours and now poses a serious threat to homes overlooking the lake.

The couple said that the villa owners planned to use pumps to help drain the lake after the rainy season this year.

In December, 2015, in Shenzhen, next to Hong Kong, an artificial mountain of construction rubble the height of a 20-storey building and constructed in an abandoned quarry collapsed in unseasonably heavy rain, claiming nearly 80 lives in nearby workers’ dormitories.