Corruption, Weak Rule of Law Cited as Myanmar Probes Latest Jade Disaster

A team appointed by the Myanmar government to probe a massive landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar has begun its investigation into the deadly accident that killed at least 172 people, a Kachin state official said Tuesday.

Heavy rains caused piles of loose dirt and rubble to collapse on July 2, burying more than 200 scavengers looking for discarded pieces of jade left behind by miners and creating “lake of mud” full of bodies in Kachin state’s Hpakant township. More than 50 others were injured, and about 20 are still missing.

A day after the landslide, President Win Myint appointed a six-member investigative body led by Ohn Win, minister for natural resources and environmental conservation, to look into the cause of the latest of many accidents to hit the gemstone industry.

The panel also must determine the managerial responsibility, arrange for compensation for the families of the dead and injured, and recommend a security plan to prevent future disasters.

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Reported by Aung Theinkha and Zarni Tun for RFA’s Myanmar Service and by Jia Ao for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated by Nandar Chann. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.