At least 120 dead after landslide sinks jade mine in Myanmar
A mine collapse has killed at least 123 people in the southeast Asian country of Myanmar.
The Myanmar Fire Services Department confirmed on social media that workers were digging for stones but were swamped by mud and water when heavy rainfall caused the quarry to collapse.
A statement from the Ministry of Information said 123 bodies had been recovered from the site of the landslide in Hpakant, while the Fire Department, which coordinates rescues and other emergency services, put the total at 126.
The death toll is expected to rise, said Khin Maung Myint, chairman of Thingaha rescue group working at the site now.
Maung Myint, a lawmaker from Hpakant where the accident occurred, earlier said the rescue groups with which he had been in contact said 113 bodies had been recovered and 54 injured sent to hospitals.
Heavy rain has forced rescue efforts to be called off.,
The victims are reportedly freelance miners who settle near giant mounds of discarded earth that has been mined in bulk by heavy machinery.
The freelance miners who scavenge for bits of jade usually work and live at the base of the mounds of earth, which become particularly unstable during the rainy season.
The mine is located in the Hpakant Township in the Kachin State of Myanmar, and is well known for its collection of jade mines.
Jade is a highly valuable green mineral that is used to create jewellery. Much of the material is exported to China.
It's estimated that Myanmar may mine as much as 70 per cent of world's supply of jade.
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- Reported with AP and CNN