A landslide in jade mines in northern Burma has left at least 113 people dead, Kachin State Fire Services said on Thursday.
At least 113 people were found dead in the mud following a landslide in jade mines in northern Burma, Kachin State Fire Services said on Thursday (July 2).
“The miners were swept away by a stream of mud caused by heavy showers [de mousson]”So far we have found a total of 113 bodies,” the firefighters wrote on their official Facebook page. The search must be interrupted due to heavy rain, local police say.
On this Facebnook page, photos show a team of rescuers wading in a valley submerged by the clay, in the Canton of Hpakant, near the Chinese border.
Every year, dozens of miners are killed in search of gemstones in accidents due to dangerous working conditions, especially during the monsoon season.
A thriving but poorly regulated industry
Very prosperous but unregulated, the mining industry employs many undeclared workers and weighs tens of billions of dollars, according to NGO Watchdog Global Witness.
The open jade mines in Hpakant have transformed this remote region into a vast terrain reminiscent of a lunar landscape.
Lethal landslides in the region are frequent, and victims often come from disadvantaged ethnic communities that seem almost secret in old abandoned mines.
Abundant natural resources in northern Burma – including jade, precious wood, gold and amber – help fund both sides of a decades-long civil war between the uprising of Kachin’s ethnicity and the Burmese military.