İrem UZUN -TDO- At least 162 people have died and others are feared trapped after a landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar's Kachin State, according to officials. The landslide was triggered by heavy rain and swept through the site in the jade-rich area of Hpakant on Thursday morning. Myanmar Fire Department said 162 bodies had been recovered as of 7:15 p.m. Thursday local time and another 54 people have been taken to hospital.
The incident took place early on Thursday in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state after a bout of heavy rainfall, the Myanmar Fire Services Department said on Facebook. "The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud," the statement said. Photos posted on the Facebook page showed a search and rescue team wading through a valley apparently flooded by the mudslide.
The Hpakant area in Kachin state is 600 miles north of Myanmar's biggest city, Yangon, and is the center of the world's biggest and most lucrative jade mining industry. A November 2015 accident also left 113 dead and was considered the country's worst.
The United Nations in Myanmar issued a statement saying it was "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of life due to a massive landslide at a mining site in Hpakant Township in Kachin State on the morning of 2nd of June 2020." It commended the "courageous efforts by the men and women involved in the difficult rescue and recovery efforts," extended its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery.