A Deadly Landslide in Burma
Dozens were buried under rubble near a jade mine in the northern state of Kachin this weekend.
Local resident Seng Mai told The Wall Street Journal that he watched as rescue teams dug bodies from the heap and transported them to the town’s morgue.
“Local people are helping to pull the bodies out and also to bring the villagers away from the landslide area,” he said. “There has been a huge number of deaths.”
After Myanmar's former military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government five years ago, resulting in the lifting of many Western sanctions, the already rapid pace of mining turned frenetic. No scrap of ground, no part of daily life in Hpakant is left untouched by the fleets of giant yellow trucks and backhoes that have sliced apart mountains and denuded once-plush landscape.
In the last year, dozens of small-scale miners have been maimed or lost their lives picking through tailing dumps.
Burma’s jade industry is poorly regulated, and in Kachin, often complicated by the government’s decades-old battle against the Kachin Independence Army, a rebel force that seeks independence for the Christian minority in the predominantly Buddhist country.