Tragedy at Myanmar jade mine: More than 160 die, many missing | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 03, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:41 AM, July 03, 2020

Tragedy at Myanmar jade mine: More than 160 die, many missing

The battered bodies of more than 160 jade miners were pulled from a sea of mud after a landslide in northern Myanmar yesterday after one of the worst-ever accidents to hit the treacherous industry.

Scores die each year while working in the country's lucrative but poorly regulated multi-billion jade industry, which uses low-paid migrant workers to scrape out a gem highly coveted in China.

The disaster struck after heavy rainfall pounded the open-cast mines, close to the Chinese border in Kachin state, where billions of dollars of jade is believed to be scoured each year from bare hillsides. 

Scores "were smothered by a wave of mud," the Myanmar Fire Services Department said in a Facebook post.

Working throughout the day to pull bodies out, "the total death toll so far is 162," it said.

"Search and rescue process is still ongoing."

Photos shared by the Myanmar military news site showed mud-slaked and bloodied bodies of miners laid out in grim rows under tarpaulins, some missing shoes as a result of the force of the wall of mud which hit them.

They had apparently defied a warning not to work the mines during the monsoon rains, local police told AFP.

Kyaw Min, a village leader, told AFP some survivors were pulled from the treacly mud before rescue efforts were suspended because of more rain.

The workers were scavenging for gemstones on the sharp mountainous terrain in Hpakant township, where furrows from earlier excavations had already loosened the earth.

Myanmar is one of the world's biggest sources of jadeite and the industry is largely driven by insatiable demand for the translucent green gem from neighbouring China.

Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star Android & iOS News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Grameenphone:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 22222

Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222


Banglalink:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Top News

Top