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Dozens Are Feared Dead After a Landslide in Myanmar
Sunday | 27/12/2015 - 07:48 AM
Dozens Are Feared Dead After a Landslide in Myanmar

Rohingya News Agency - The New York Times

Dozens of people were feared dead in northern Myanmar after a landslide hit a jade mining region, workers at a mining company said, the second such episode in just over a month.

The landslide occurred on Friday in Hpakant, in the country’s northern Kachin State, a rugged region between China and India and the heart of Myanmar’s multibillion-dollar jade industry, which is controlled by the country’s powerful military.

“We heard about 50 people were buried in the collapsed dump and four or five bodies were found this morning,” Sai Lon, who works at a mining company in the area, said Saturday.

The police in Hpakant, in the Mohnyin district, said that the landslide took place on Friday afternoon but that they could not offer any details about the number of casualties.

“We haven’t heard anything from the rescue team yet,” said a duty officer at the Hpakant township police station who declined to give his name.

Last month, a landslide in the same mountainous area in Kachin State killed 114 people. The area produces some of the world’s highest-quality jade.

Deaths in Myanmar’s jade mines, where small-time prospectors and big companies vie for the precious stone, underscore the sector’s lax safety rules and lack of accountability.

Although the United States eased most of the ban on imports from the country when a quasi-civilian government took power in 2011 after five decades of military dictatorship, an American ban on Myanmar jade remains in place over concerns that jade mining benefits military figures and fuels corruption and human rights abuses.

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