Dozens missing in deadly Myanmar mine landslide

Dozens missing in deadly Myanmar mine landslide By Nidhul - December 22, 2021
Dozens missing in deadly Myanmar mine landslide

In this photo taken five hours after the disaster, people can be seen searching for survivors

At least one person has died and 70 are missing after a landslide occurred at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar.

Rescue operations are under way, with most of the victims believed to be illegal jade miners.

The landslide occurred in the Hpakant area of Kachin state at around 04:00 local time on Wednesday (21:30 GMT Tuesday).

Myanmar is the world's biggest source of jade but its mines have seen numerous accidents over the years.

The landslide is believed to have been caused by an overflow of rubble discarded from lorries to the open-pit mines.

The rubble creates large slopes that can be dangerous in an area denuded of trees, forcing those scavenging for fragments of the semi-precious stone to labour in hazardous conditions.

Jade mining is banned in Hpakant, but locals often defy regulations, driven by lack of employment and impoverished conditions that have worsened from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Several days ago, at least 10 unskilled miners went missing in another landslide at a jade block in Hpakant.

A new gemstone mining law was passed in 2018, but critics say the government has too few inspectors with only limited authority to stop illegal practices.

Myanmar's jade trade is reported to be worth more than $30bn (£24bn) a year, with Hpakant being the site of the world's biggest jade mine.

Source: BBC

By Nidhul - December 22, 2021

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