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Over 160 killed in jade mine landslide in Myanmar

ANI | Updated: Jul 02, 2020 22:38 IST

Nay Pyi Taw [Myanmar], July 2 (ANI): A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar has claimed the lives of at least 162 people and wounded another 54, officials said on Thursday.
As per Al Jazeera reports, the incident took place early today in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state after a bout of heavy rainfall, the Myanmar Fire Services Department said on Facebook.
"By 7:15 pm, 162 bodies were found, and 54 injured people were sent" to nearby hospitals, Myanmar's fire service department said on its official Facebook page.
"The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud," the statement said.
Photos posted on the Facebook page showed a search and rescue team wading through a valley apparently flooded by the mudslide.
Fatal landslides are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant, the victims often from impoverished communities who risk their lives hunting the translucent green gemstone.
The government of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi pledged to clean up the industry when it took power in 2016, but activists say little has changed.
Official sales of jade in Myanmar were worth USD750.4 million in 2016-2017, according to data published by the government as part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
But experts believe the true value of the industry, which mainly exports to China, is much larger.
The most detailed estimate of Myanmar's jade industry said it generated about USD31 billion in 2014.
Northern Myanmar's abundant natural resources - including jade, timber, gold and amber - have also helped finance both sides of a decades-long conflict between ethnic Kachin and the military.
The fight to control the mines and the revenues they bring frequently traps local civilians in the middle. (ANI)

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