100 feared dead in Myanmar jade mine landslide
YANGON (MYANMAR) – Myanmar authorities on Thursday said atleast 100 people were feared dead in a landslide at a jade mine in the northern part of the country. The mishap occurred when a large pile of mining debris collapsed into a lake releasing a wave of slush that buried several miners.
The fire services department said the workers were engaged in fetching jade in the Hpakant area of Kachin state when the “muddy wave” buried them in the heavy rain.
“Now we recovered more than 100 bodies,” said Tar Lin Maung of the information ministery. “Other bodies are in the mud. The numbers are going to rise.”
With minimal safety measures in place, devastating landslides and other mishaps frequently occur in Hpakant mines.
There have been reports of many jade pickers, who glean mines for residue missed by larger operators, dying in mishaps.
A witness Maung Khaing said he was about to click a picture of a huge pile of mine waste that was about to collapse when he heard people shouting ‘run’.
“Within a minute, all the people at the bottom (of the hill) just disappeared… “I feel empty in my heart. I still have goose bumps… There were people stuck in the mud shouting for help but no one could help them.”
Although the Aung San Suu Kyi government had pledged to clean up the jade mining industry when it came to power, nothing has changed so far, say activists.
Jade sale in Myanmar was worth 671 million euros ($750.04 million) in 2016-17 according to official data.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field