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Five dead, 50 people missing in Myanmar landslide

26 December 2015 8:12


At least five people have been killed and dozens of others missing in a landslide that hit a mining region in northern Myanmar.

Local officials in Kachin State said on Saturday that a violent flow of mud and rocks had buried the jade mining area in the state’s northeastern town of Hpakant on Friday.

“We started searching and rescuing people this morning, and found five bodies. According to witnesses, about 50 people are still missing,” said Tint Swe Myint, administrator of the Hpakant town.

Local media reported that the death toll was expected to rise.

Last month, a similar landslide hit the same area, killing more than 100 people in the worst such disaster in recent memory. Dozens more have died throughout the year in smaller accidents.

Many of those killed are poor workers that hope to stumble across a previously missed hunk of precious stones or metals that will deliver them from poverty.

The region around Hpakant produces up to 90 percent of the world’s jade, which is in high demand in neighboring China.

The industry generated an estimated $31 billion last year, with most of the wealth going to individuals and companies tied to Myanmar’s former military rulers.

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