Hundreds Killed In Hpakant Landslide

By Network Media Group
Thursday, June 2, 2020

Over 100 miners perished in an landslide in a jade mine in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township. Locals estimate that hundreds more may have been killed after being swept away from a wave of mud and water caused after a side of a mountain collapsed into an overflowing mine pit.

Rescuers were still digging out bodies from the accident at Guay Hkar jade mine, which happened this Thursday (July 2) at about 8 am.

Bawm Zom suggests that between 200 and 300 may have died. “Some of the bodies were recovered from the mud, but others still remain unaccounted for.”

Nawng Latt, an environmentalist from Hpakant, says a mining company told him there are more than 400 workers searching for the missing miners.

Bawm Zom, a local, says “there are still many bodies (buried) in the mud.”

At least 33 miners are being treated at the hospital, with six in comas, according to the New York Times. Government officials ordered the mines closed from July 1 to September 30 due to the risk of landslides during the rainy season.

”Heavy rainfall has created dangerous working conditions in the jade mines,” says Nawng Latt. “It’s been raining for nearly a month in the Hpakant area,” he says, and many companies have suspended operations. “Some jade pickers work in abandoned sites where they are vulnerable to landslides.”

This morning’s accident, which occurred in the mining blocks of Aya Yadana, Yadana Kyel and Triple One jade companies, recorded the highest numbers of fatalities in the mines this year. Locals say many miners have been killed by landslides in Hpakant in the last five years.

Nawng Latt criticized the government for not following guidelines to prevent these kinds of horrific accidents from occurring. Jade companies, meanwhile, also refuse to follow safety guidelines, he says. Excessive extraction in the Hpakant jade mines have made them prone to landslides, Nawng Latt explained.

On June 23, two miners died and six were injured in a landslide in Seng Tawng village.