YANGON – Hopes faded on Monday that any of an estimated 100 people missing would be found alive after a landslide in northern Myanmar buried an encampment near a jade mine, and officials said it was still unclear how many people were living in the area.
Rescue workers had recovered 113 bodies when the search was suspended on Monday evening, Khin Kyaw, a local police officer, told Reuters. Two of the bodies recovered were women, he said.
Heavy equipment has been brought in to assist the digging in Hpakant, the site of the landslide in a mountainous area in the northern Kachin State that produces some of the world’s highest-quality jade.
“We just don’t know how many people exactly were buried since we don’t have any data on people living there,” Tin Swe Myint, head of the Hpakant Township Administration Department, said on Sunday.
“It was just a slum with these … workers living in makeshift tents.”
A man-made mountain of earth excavated from mines gave way in the early hours of Saturday, smashing into a makeshift settlement at the foot of the slag heap and burying mine workers as they slept.
The mines and soil dump sites are hazardous and deaths among the many migrant workers who pick through the slag piles for jade are common.
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