The landslide occurred Friday morning, burying the community of Gaopo Village, the local civil affairs bureau said.
Li Lianju of the Yunnan Land and Resources Department said a high and steep slope gave way, sending tons of rain- and snow-soaked mud onto the village. He said the incident was unprecedented in the area, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
More than 1,000 rescuers with excavators and other equipment were ordered to the area to search for victims, Xinhua said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]