At least 126 bodies found after a landslide in northern Myanmar

At least 126 bodies have been found after a landslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar, officials say.

Rescue work is on going for people who are still missing at the site in the Hpakant area of Kachin state.

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A wave of mud and rock triggered by heavy rain engulfed those collecting stones, the fire service said.

Myanmar is the world’s biggest source of jade but its mines have seen numerous accidents, many involving people who scavenge for stones.

The country’s fire service department said in a Facebook post: “The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud, which hit after heavy rainfall.”

Police said some people had defied a warning issued yesterday not to work in the area after the rainfall, although the advice may also have saved many lives.

The BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says video of the incident shows a massive landslide pouring into a large flooded pit. The sides then collapse sending water surging into the valley below.

Fire service department images showed rescuers carrying away bodies wrapped in tarpaulins.

Maung Khaing, a 38-year-old miner, told Reuters he saw a towering pile of waste close to collapse and people were shouting “run, run”.

He said: “Within a minute, all the people at the bottom [of the hill] just disappeared. I feel empty in my heart… There were people stuck in the mud shouting for help but no-one could help them.”

Hundreds of people gather at mines to sift through rubble discarded from lorries, hoping to find jade stones.

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