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Three dead, at least 70 missing after landslide at Myanmar jade mine

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Rescue teams search for survivors at a lake near the jade mine.

MYANMAR: A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar Wednesday killed at least three persons and left dozens missing, a member of the rescue team said.

Scores die each year working in the country’s lucrative but poorly regulated jade trade, which uses low-paid migrant workers to scrape out a gem highly coveted in neighbouring China.

The disaster struck at the Hpakant mine close to the Chinese border in Kachin state, where billions of dollars of jade is believed to be scoured each year from bare hillsides.

“About 70-100 people are missing” following the landslide that struck around 4am (4.30am Bangkok time), said rescue team member Ko Nyi.

“We’ve sent 25 injured people to hospital while we’ve found one dead.”

Around 200 rescuers were searching to recover bodies, with some using boats to search for the dead in a nearby lake, he added.

A photo posted on social media by a local journalist who said he was at the scene showed dozens of people standing on the edge of the lake, with some launching boats into the water.

Local outlet Kachin News Group said 20 miners had been killed in the landslide.

Myanmar’s fire services said its personnel from Hpakant and nearby town of Lone Khin were involved in the rescue effort but gave no figures of dead or missing.

Civilians are frequently trapped in the middle of the fight for control of Myanmar’s mines and their lucrative revenues, with a rampant drug and arms trade further curdling the conflict.

Last year heavy rainfall triggered a massive landslide in Hpakant that entombed nearly 300 miners.


Friday, December 24, 2021 – 01:00

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