Hpakant landslide death toll rises to 104
The death toll from a massive landslide that engulfed the homes of migrant miners in Hpakant, Kachin State, rose above 100 yesterday.
By Sunday evening, rescuers had recovered 103 bodies from the landslide, which took place after a giant amount of dump soil from a jade mine collapsed at around 3 am on Saturday, according to local authorities.
One victim was rushed to hospital yesterday but died at the hospital. Many more people are still missing.
The landslide occurred next to the mountain of dump soil, which is about 200 feet high, measuring around 200 feet by 300 feet, burying around 70 makeshift huts located in the ravine between two mountains of dump soil.
The accident occurred at the mountain of dump soil, which was dumped by a mining company last year.
Just five huts escaped the landslide, according to a local resident.
An official of the Hpakant Township General Administration Department said the authorities has designated some areas, including the one where the tragedy happened, as risk areas for landslides and issued notices to small-scale miners not to reside there.
“We have issued orders and warned the people not to build makeshift huts near mountains of dump soil and not to stay there. The victims involved in the accident also signed onto the authorities’ written notices, pledging they would not stay there,” the official said.
Rescue workers under the local authorities, military staff from local regiments and residents are using 17 backhoes to clear the soil, he added.
Migrant small-scale miners were searching for jade in the piles of waste soil around the mountainside.