At least 13 killed in Myan­mar jade mine land­slide

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

At least 13 jade mine work­ers and se­cu­rity guards in north­ern Myan­mar were killed in a land­slide Sun­day, au­thor­i­ties said, as res­cuers fran­ti­cally searched for more vic­tims.

Myan­mar’s fire ser­vices depart­ment said in a Face­book post the ac­ci­dent hap­pened in the early morn­ing in Hpakant town­ship.

“We have sent two injured men and the dead bod­ies of 13 men” to a lo­cal hospital, the depart­ment said.

A po­lice of­fi­cer on the scene told AFP that the up­per part of a mine col­lapsed and fell around 200 me­ters onto those sleep­ing below.

Dozens die each year in land­slides caused by jade min­ing, a dan­ger­ous and poorly regulated in­dus­try in Kachin state.

Though new reg­u­la­tions sus­pend min­ing dur­ing the wet sea­son peak from July through Septem­ber, some work­ers stay on site.

Heavy rains pounded the area over the last week, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cer, who said the search for those miss­ing is on­go­ing. The deadly land­slide is the lat­est to hit Hpakant, the epi­cen­ter of a multi­bil­lion jade trade.

In April more than 54 peo­ple were killed when a mas­sive land­slide buried work­ers along with dozens of ve­hi­cles.

Many min­ers are from im­pov­er­ished eth­nic mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties who risk their lives hunting the translu­cent green gem­stone.

Drug ad­dic­tion among work­ers is also a ma­jor problem in Hpakant, which has been turned into a vast moon­scape­like ter­rain by years of min­ing.

Watch­dog Global Wit­ness es­ti­mated that the in­dus­try was worth some $31 bil­lion in 2014.

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