Another landslide hit the Hpakant jade mining region in the Kachin State, Myanmar on January 25, 2016. The number of missing people is not known yet, and local authorities are currently engaged in a search and rescue operation in the area.
The latest landslide is only one in a series of deadly incidents occurring in the region over the last couple of months. A massive landslide in the same area killed at least 90 people and left more than 100 missing on November 21, 2015. Since mid-December at least 6 huge landslides have hit the region.
According to a local witness, two piles of mining waste collapsed while prospectors were looking for jade in the area between Suttaung and Shansu villages.
"About 100 prospectors were searching the gems residues there, and suddenly the waste pile of Triple Three Company collapsed, and later another pile of Aung Hein Min [company] collapsed. We were a bit far from the collapsing area, and we were able to run away to save our lives. But we can’t help others, and could only watch the collapse bury them alive," said Aung Lin, a local prospector who survived the collapse.
Video credit: DVBTVenglish
The number of missing people couldn't be confirmed by the morning of January 26 (local time). However, rescue attempts are ongoing, according to the local police.
"We are still collecting the data and can’t confirm the exact number yet. But we believe more than a dozen are missing," said a police officer from the Lon Kin police station.
Rescue workers that are trying to dig out the bodies need to be very careful as they are faced with a threat of more debris collapsing.
"They are trying to exhume the bodies, but the waste pile keeps collapsing so that it is now very dangerous for rescue works. We believe the rescue works will take about two or three days," said the officer.
The newest landslide happened two weeks after the 91-m high mountain of mining waste collapsed yet again, killing at least 4 people and leaving 40 missing on January 12.
Frequent landslides in the area could be the result of improper soil disposal regulations of mining companies that operate in the area, according to media reports.
Featured image: Jade mine in Hpakant, Myanmar. Image credit: DVBTVenglish