Myanmar rescuers recover 22 bodies after a deadly landslide

(Reuters) – Rescue teams in northern Myanmar have found 22 bodies following a huge landslide at the weekend near a jade mine, a rescue worker and a local journalist said on Tuesday.

There were 42 people declared missing, many of them scavengers searching for small pieces of jade, according to Tar Lin Maung, a local journalist.

The accident occurred on Sunday in Hpakant in Kachin state, where a giant heap of excavated earth and rubble collapsed, dragging people into a nearby lake.

More than 100 people were involved in the effort to find the victims, many in boats watched by people who gathered on cliffs overlooking where the accident occurred.

“Due to the non-stop rain, the ground is spongy. It makes it difficult and risky for us,” said a rescuer, declining to be identified due to concerns about his safety.

Hpakant is known for its abundant jade resources and for being the site of some of Asia’s worst mining disasters, including one in 2020 that killed at least 170 scavengers.

Myanmar produces about 90% of the world jade, with China a major buyer. The industry is worth billions of dollar each year to Myanmar’s ruling military and its business allies, according to activists.

(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Editing by Martin Petty)