32 lives lost in Myanmar Jade Mine landslide, as confirmed by local authorities. The incident sheds light on the dangerous conditions prevailing in the region's lucrative jade mining industry.
The landslide occurred in Hpakant, a remote and mountainous town located in the northern state of Kachin.
The incident took place on Sunday, leaving a devastating impact on the community and exposing the risks faced by miners in the area.
According to Sa Tay Za, a representative from the Hpakant Fire Service Department, the victims of the landslide were all men.
The bodies of all but one of the deceased miners have been returned to their grieving families.
The catastrophic event unfolded due to the collapse of a sand cliff, leading to the sudden surge of water into a nearby lake and the subsequent entrapment of the miners.
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The town of Hpakant is home to some of the world's largest and most profitable jade mines.
Myanmar contributes approximately 70% of the global jade supply, with the demand driven primarily by neighboring China.
However, the jade industry has long been mired in conflict, corruption, and exploitative practices, along with causing significant environmental degradation.
This has been highlighted by the non-profit watchdog group Global Witness.
Global Witness revealedthat Myanmar's jade industry was valued at around $31 billion in 2014, nearly half of the country's official GDP for that year.
The lack of regulation in the sector has contributed to its opacity, leading the Natural Resource Governance Institute to label Myanmar's gemstone sector as one of the most opaque in the world.
Miners in the region often come from impoverished backgrounds and migrate from various parts of the country in search of livelihoods.
Their work is characterized by constant peril, as the risk of landslides and other accidents remains an ever-present threat.
The recent landslide is not an isolated incident. Hpakant has witnessed similar deadly disasters in the past. In 2020, heavy rainfall triggered a landslide that claimed the lives of over 160 individuals in a jade mine.
The following year, a similar tragic event occurred in the same vicinity, underscoring the persistent risks faced by those working in the jade industry.
The tragic landslide has once again brought attention to the perilous conditions in which miners operate in Myanmar's jade mines.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for increased regulation, improved safety measures, and the protection of those who contribute to the industry.
The devastating landslide in Myanmar's jade mine is a somber reminder of the hazardous conditions miners face in pursuit of the precious gemstone.
With lives lost and dangers persisting, the incident underscores the urgent need for industry reforms, safety measures, and support for those affected by the tragic consequences of this lucrative yet perilous trade.