By ESTHER HTUSAN, Associated Press

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A landslide near a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed about one hundred folks, most of them villagers digging for green stones in a mountain of displaced earth, a witness and a neighborhood leader stated Sunday. Numerous other people have been missing.

The collapse occurred Saturday evening in the Kachin state community of Hpakant, said Brang Seng, a jade businessman, who watched as bodies have been pulled from the debris and taken to a hospital morgue.

“Individuals have been crying,” he stated, adding that some lost loved ones when boulders and earth ripped down the slopes. “I’m hearing that a lot more than 100 people died. In some cases, entire families had been lost.”

Lamai Gum Ja, a neighborhood leader, stated houses at the base of the mine dump had been flattened.

An estimated one hundred to 200 folks were still missing, he stated. Search and rescue teams wearing vibrant orange uniforms combed by means of the rubble Sunday for survivors.

Kachin, around 950 kilometers (600 miles) northeast of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, is home to some of the world’s highest-quality jade.

It generated an estimated $ 31 billion last year alone, most of the wealth going to individuals and businesses tied to Myanmar’s former military rulers, according to Worldwide Witness, a group that investigates misuse of resource revenues.

The jade industry’s epicenter, Hpakant, remains desperately poor, with bumpy dirt roads, continuous electrical energy blackouts and sky-high heroin addiction prices.

Soon after Myanmar’s former military rulers handed more than energy to a nominally civilian government five years ago, resulting in the lifting of numerous Western sanctions, the currently speedy pace of mining turned frenetic. No scrap of ground, no part of daily life in Hpakant is left untouched by the fleets of giant yellow trucks and backhoes that have sliced apart mountains and denuded as soon as-plush landscape.

In the last year, dozens of tiny-scale miners have been maimed or lost their lives picking through tailing dumps.

“Massive businesses, a lot of of them owned by households of former generals, army firms, cronies and drug lords, are making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year via their plunder of Hpakant,” mentioned Mike Davis of International Witness.

“Their legacy to local individuals is a dystopian wasteland in which scores of men and women at a time are buried alive in landslides,” he stated.

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