Death toll from Myanmar landslides reaches 125

The death toll from massive jade mine landslides in Myanmar’s Kachin state has reached 125, an official from Hpakant township administration office told Xinhua on Thursday.

“All of the casualties are local jade scavengers and the rescue operations are being suspended as the situation is quite dangerous,” the official said.

“A total of 125 bodies have been recovered as of noon (local time) and most of them are male. It is quite difficult to carry out search work at the scene as large equipment can’t be used for rescue operations here,” said a police officer at the scene.

Caused by monsoon rains, the landslides occurred at a jade mining site in Sate Mu village tract of Hpakant township at 08:00 a.m. local time, according to a release from the Fire Services Department.

According to a release from the Military True News Information Team, a 304.8-meter-high cliff wall collapsed into a tailings pond at a suspended mining site, leaving deaths and 23 injured.

Meanwhile, the Myanma Gems Enterprise had recently issued a directive to jade mining companies to suspend operations at the sites for three months starting this month during monsoon season.

“It’s dangerous to carry out jade mining operations in the areas as there will be heavy rainfalls during monsoon season,” Managing Director U Min Thu of the enterprise under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conversation, told Xinhua on Thursday.

According to the enterprise’s directive, the suspension will be practiced in Lone Khin-Hpakant mining area in Kachin state, and Kani mining area and Maw Luu-Maw Han mining area in Sagaing region from July 1 to Sept. 30 this year.