Two Killed And Six Injured During Hpakant Landslide
By Network Media Group
Friday, June 26, 2020
Two jade miners were killed and six injured during a landslide in Hpakant Township in Kachin State.
Zau Seng Awng, who lives in Seng Tawng village, near where the accident occurred last Tuesday (June 23), says the miners didn’t move away fast enough when the landslide in Seng Tawng jade mining block occurred.
“Perhaps they were inexperienced,” he says. “The jade mine company blew an alarm whistle as the hillside began to collapse.”
Zau Seng Awng explained that a 300-foot hill near Ba San Trench and Sapot Bum Nan Road collapsed on the workers. Two died instantly and the other six are being treated at Hpakant Public Hospital.
The bodies of Naw Tawng, 45, and Myint Naing, 37, were cremated last Wednesday.
Landslides at the Hpakant jade mines are frequent during the rainy season and workers are killed every year. Locals say the fatalities are unnecessary, blaming the government for inaction and for not imposing laws that protect miners from dangerous working conditions.
Zau Seng Awng says jade companies should refill mining pits with soil after finishing extraction. “If they refill the soil at the old extraction site, there will definitely be fewer landslides.”
Government officials aren’t carefully monitoring what’s happening in the mines. And companies are not taking responsibility for the safety of their workers, explains Zau Seng Tu, also from Seng Tawng.
“We want government officials to monitor what’s happening and take appropriate action. People shouldn’t dig by the side of the road. Companies aren’t very concerned about landslides. Once the jade is extracted, they just leave.”
Earlier in June, a miner was also killed from a landslide.
With heavy rainfall throughout the last month, locals are concerned about more landslides and flooding.