Burma: the bodies of two new victims found after a landslide

The hope of finding survivors is almost nil. After a victim found Wednesday following a landslide, a rescuer told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that two other bodies were recovered on the morning of Thursday, December 23, in the lake located in below the collapsed hill. One of the victims is a 23-year-old from the center of the country, hundreds of kilometers away.

Dozens of jade miners are still missing after this landslide in Hpakant, in northern Burma, near the Chinese border, in this high place of jade mining.

Rescuers searching the lake and rubble for survivors initially said at least 70 people were missing, before adding that they were still trying to confirm that figure.

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“It rained last night, the cliff of the landfill may be cracked, so we can only start when the sun comes up and the fog clears”, another rescuer told AFP, said the water temperature at dawn was too cold for divers to enter. “If the corpses do not float today, they will appear the following days, it is nature”, he added.

A lucrative but poorly regulated business

According to a local activist, hundreds of workers returned to Hpakant during the rainy season to explore the surface mines, despite the ban imposed by the junta until March 2022. The increased pressure from the weight of the Dirt and dumped rocks dragged down the hill to the nearby lake, a rescuer said.

Dozens of people die each year working for the lucrative but poorly regulated jade trade, for which poorly paid migrant workers mine these highly coveted gems in China.

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Jade and other natural resources abundant in northern Burma, including wood, gold, and amber, have helped finance both sides of a decades-long civil war between insurgents in the Kachin ethnicity and the military. Civilians are often trapped in the struggle for mine control, while drug and arms trafficking further escalates the conflict.

Heavy monsoon rains caused the worst drama of this nature in 2020, with 300 miners buried after a landslide in the same Hpakant massif. The jade trade generates more than $ 30 billion a year, nearly half of Burma’s gross domestic product.

The February coup destroyed any chance of success in the reform of the sector started under Aung San Suu Kyi, the watchdog Global Witness ruled in a report released in 2021.

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The World with AFP

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Burma: the bodies of two new victims found after a landslide