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33 bodies from landslide at jade mine in Myanmar rescued

Rescue teams are searching for at least three people believed to be missing

33 bodies of people have been found from a landslide at the jade mine in northern Myanmar and rescuers are searching for at least 3 people believed to be missing, a rescue official said on Wednesday.

In this landslide on Sunday in Hpakant, in the center of the world’s largest and most advantageous jade mining district, earth and pieces from several mines slid about 300 meters (1,000 feet) down a large cliff into a lake below. , transporting more than 35 miners with it.

Approximately 150 rescuers using 5 small boats recovered the bodies from the muddy lake at Manna village in Hpakant, a distant mountain town in Kachin state, approximately 950 kilometers (600 miles) north of Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, the head of a local rescue of the aforementioned workforce. He said that at least 3 people were still missing.

He also spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of arrest by military authorities.

All the victims were men.

The bodies were covered with green plastic sheets and placed in a row on the lake bank as relatives arrived to keep them away for cremation. All the victims were men.

One of the miners who lost 2 relatives said that local authorities offered around 700,000 kyats (US$330) per victim as a contribution towards the cost of funerals.

Landslides occur several times a year in the Hpakant jade mines. In July 2020, at least 162 people died in a landslide in the same area and 113 died in an accident in November 2015.

Most of the victims are miners who settle near large mounds of discarded earth dug up by very heavy equipment used by mining companies.

They typically work and live in desert mines at the base of mountains.

They search for pieces of jade and typically work and live in deserted mining pits at the base of mountains, which become particularly unstable during the rainy season.

Most scavengers are unregistered migrants from different locations, making it extremely difficult to know exactly how many people are missing after these types of accidents.

Human rights activists say jade mining is a crucial source of income for military officials living in Myanmar. Opponents of the military regime advocate sanctions and boycotts to reduce jade sales.

Jade mining also plays a role in Myanmar’s Kachin insurgent groups’ decades-long war for greater autonomy.

The area is now embroiled in an armed war between the Kachin Independence Army and the army, which has sent many civilians to displacement camps in nearby counties.

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