HPAKANT-Many raw jade miners are feared dead after a 1,000-foot-high heap of soil collapsed in Hpakant, Kachin State.
“I ran as soon as I heard the landslide. There were about 30 people running behind me. When I reached the hill, I looked back and I didn’t see anyone. Estimates of the death toll exceed 50,” said miner Phoe Tin Lay.
The soil dump, between Khunkhar and Shansu villages, has been built up by two big gem companies: Yazahtarni and Aung Min Hein. Residents say there is a cave filled with water at the site so the water eroded the base, causing the slip.
Death toll estimates ranging from 50 and 100 but the authorities expect it to be lower.
“Some lived in tents by themselves or with another person. They have been buried under the landslide so how are they going to give us their names?” said a jade miner.
A big jade stone had just been found so the owner and his workers were at the base of the dump at the time so they were all buried, according to eye witnesses.
Residents have been criticising companies for using only one digger to searching for the bodies.
A similar incident took place near Mawmaungbon village on January 6 and the death toll was estimated to be high but the search was halted after finding four bodies.
Source: Eleven Myanmar