Home / China / World

Hopes fade for 100 missing after landslide

By Agencies in Yangon, Myanmar | China Daily | Updated: 2015-11-24 08:17

Hopes dimmed on Monday for 100 people still missing two days after a landslide near a jade mine in northern Myanmar.

The landslide smashed into a makeshift settlement, burying mine workers as they slept.

The death toll rose to 113 after nine more bodies were recovered on Monday. Most victims of the deadly landslide were ethnic people, a local police officer told Xinhua.

It is unclear what caused a mountain of mining debris to give way early on Saturday in Hpakant, a mountainous area in northern Kachin state that produces some of the world's highest-quality jade.

The mines and soil dump sites are hazardous and deaths among workers picking through the slag piles for jade are common.

An estimated 100 people were still missing, according to officials in the region.

The death toll was expected to rise as the search resumed, said Tin Swe Myint, head of the Hpakant Township Administration Department.

"We don't know how many people exactly were buried, since we don't have any data on people living there," he said. "It was just a slum with these workers living in makeshift tents."

Workers, many of them migrants from elsewhere in Myanmar, toil long hours in dangerous conditions searching for the precious stones.

Ko Sai, a miner who was at a nearby camp, said the landslide struck at about 3 am, when many miners were sleeping.

"We heard a loud noise that sounded like thunder and saw that the huge mountain had collapsed and a huge wave of rubble was moving and sprawling over a wide area," he said.

"It was just like a nightmare."

Tin Swe Myint said several companies had dumped mining debris at the 81-hectare dump site. The dump was near a mine controlled by the Triple One Jade Mining Co, he said.

The value of jade production in Myanmar is estimated to have been about $31 billion last year, according to researchers from the environmental advocacy group Global Witness.

Reuters - Xinhua

Editor's picks
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349