The hope of finding survivors is almost zero. A rescue worker told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that two more bodies had been recovered on Thursday morning, December 23, in a lake at the foot of a collapsed mountain following the discovery of a victim following a landslide on Wednesday. One of the victims was a 23-year-old man from the center of the country hundreds of kilometers away.
Dozens of jade miners are still missing after the landslide at Hpakant in northern Burma, near the Chinese border, at this high point of the jade mine.
Rescue workers searching the lake and the ruins for survivors initially said at least 70 people were missing, and they are still trying to confirm that number.
“It rained last night, there may be cracks in the cliff of the landscape, so it can only start when the sun comes up and the fog clears.”, Another rescuer told AFP the water temperature was so cold at dawn that divers could not get inside. “If the corpses do not float today, they will appear in the next few days. That is normal.”, He added.
A profitable but poorly organized business
According to a local activist, hundreds of workers returned to Hpakant during the rainy season to explore the surface mines, in defiance of a ban imposed by the governing body until March 2022. The increased pressure of the weight of the dirt and dumped rocks dragged them down the hill. Nearby lake, a rescuer said.
Every year dozens of people work for a lucrative but poorly regulated jade trade, for which low-paid migrant workers cut these much-coveted gems in China.
Other natural resources in northern Burma, including jade and wood, gold and amber, have helped finance both sides of the decades-long civil war between the Kachin rebels and the military. Civilians are often caught up in the struggle for landmine control, while further escalating the drug and arms smuggling conflict.
Heavy monsoon rains in 2020 caused the worst drama of this nature, with 300 miners buried in a landslide in the same Hpakant massif. Jade trade generates more than $ 30 billion a year, which is almost half of Burma’s GDP.
The February coup has destroyed any chance of success in the sector reform launched under Aung San Suu Kyi, the Monitoring Group Global Witness said in a report released in 2021.
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