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Myanmar: 110 dead, 200 still trapped in a jade collapse accident

At least 113 people were killed, and around 200 others are trapped after a jade mine collapsed in Hpakant, northern Myanmar on Thursday as per local media of the region.

The incident happened at around 6:30 a.m. local time. 

The miners were collecting stones when a “muddy wave” caused by heavy rain buried them in Myanmar, the fire service said in a Facebook post.

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The search and rescue operation is still underway.  

As reported by CGTN, deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state, Myanmar known as the land of jade, especially in Hpakant mining region.  Many locals make living by jade scavenging in the region and most of the landslides are caused by the partial collapse of tailings heaps and dams.

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Photos posted on the Facebook page showed a search and rescue team wading through a valley apparently flooded by the mudslide.

As reported by the New Indian Express, Open jade mines have pockmarked Hpakant’s remote terrain in Myanmar and given it the appearance of a vast moonscape.

Fatal landslides in the area are common, and the victims are often from impoverished ethnic communities that are looking for scraps left behind by big firms.

Watchdog Global Witness estimated that the industry was worth some $31 billion in 2014, although very little reaches state coffers.

Northern Myanmar has abundant natural resources — including jade, timber, gold and amber — help finance both sides of a decades-long civil war between ethnic Kachin insurgents and the military.

The fight to control the mines and the revenues they bring frequently traps local civilians in the middle.

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