(CNN) -- A landslide in China's southwestern Guizhou province has left 13 people dead, with 86 people still missing under rubble, Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency, reported on Thursday.
Pounding rainfall in the region caused the landslide three days ago.
Around 2,000 people continued the rescue operation, but the workers expect to be recovering bodies and not resuscitating victims.
"It is almost impossible for any of the trapped to be alive now. We are doing our utmost to retrieve the bodies. We hope that will bring closure for the bereaved families," Li Jigao, a rescuer, told Xinhua.
Rescuers had to run three miles to reach the site, which is not accessible by vehicle.
The landslide, which lasted for two minutes, came without warning. It would have been very difficult for the villagers to escape, said an official with the Guizhou Provincial Work Safety Bureau, Xinhua reported.
"The sound was much like thunder. When I looked back, the whole village had disappeared," survivor Zhang Jin told Xinhua.
The landslide, consisting of 1.5 million to 2 million cubic meters of mud, engulfed 37 homes in Dazhai Village, Gangwu Township of Guanling County, at 2:30 p.m. Monday, said Yin Yueping, a researcher with the Ministry of Land and Resources, Xinhua reported. It was unstable and likely to trigger additional landslides, Yueping said. At least 1,000 villagers living in the area have been evacuated.
Despite the tragic conditions, more than 80 students resumed their classes in makeshift tents on Thursday.
Huang Jiping, a senior student from Guizhou Normal University, is serving as a "temporary teacher."
"I major in education, and I think I can help," he said. He said his grandfather is still buried in the debris.
Severe rain has drowned southern China over the past two months. A once-in-three-century rainstorm was seen in Lingyun County of Guizhou's neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region from Sunday to Tuesday, and residents are traveling by boat, Xinhua reported.
"It will take more than 10 days for the flood to wane because of the geological structure here," said Zhou Lixin, secretary of Lingyun's Luolou Town Committee of the Communist Party of China, Xinhua reported.