Following a mudslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar, at least 30 persons are reported missing.
The largest and most profitable jade mines in the world are located in the hilly town of Hpakant in the Kachin state.
Many of people impacted are thought to be locals, many of whom work and live in abandoned mine pits, who are sifting through the muck along the cliffs.
When Myanmar experiences severe monsoon rains between May and October, deadly landslides frequently occur in the region.
In the same region, a landslide claimed at least 162 lives in July 2020, while an accident in 2015 claimed more than 110 lives.
The rainy season has forced the suspension of mining operations. But many of the victims of the disaster, which occurred on Sunday at around 15:30 local time, were independent scavengers seeking for jade.
As a result of the heavy rain, enormous heaps of soil that were left over from mining company excavations that were more than 150 meters high became loose, rushing down the cliff and picking up miners in the process.
Additionally, survivors have related how they were mining for jade when a wall of dirt, pebbles, and floodwater engulfed them.
Hundreds of illegal mines have left their scars on the environment in this region of Myanmar. These draw a sizable number of migrant workers from various regions of the nation who travel there in quest of jade, the majority of which is sold in China.
34 individuals were reported missing, eight were hurt, and they were carried to a hospital on Sunday, one rescue worker told the Associated Press.
Although several miners had already returned to the scene in the hopes of discovering jade, he claimed that search and rescue operations were still ongoing.
The rescue worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was concerned about being detained by the military, stated, “We haven’t found any dead bodies yet.”
The military administration of Myanmar relies heavily on revenue from the jade mining industry. Additionally, it supports the Kachin Independence Army, an armed ethnic force.
Because of the jade mines there, which are thought to be worth about $30 billion (£23.6 billion) a year, the military and Kachin militants have struggled for control of this region of the Kachin State for many years.
There have been numerous clashes there both before and after the military takeover in 2021 that toppled the Aung San Suu Kyi-led civilian government.
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