Twenty-three Bodies Recovered After Extreme Flooding in Myanmar
Extreme floods in Myanmar over the weekend caused extreme landslides which has resulted in the deaths of at least 23 people in the Northern part of the country.
23 bodies were recovered after rescue workers searched for victims and survivors after the landslide which was hampered by heavy monsoon rains.
Rescuers reported that four people are still missing in the remote mining area of Kachin state, which is the centre of Myanmar’s multi-billion-dollar jade industry.
The victims of the landslide belong to the ethnic Rawang minority who dominate the Jade industry area of Kachin state, especially the Set Mu sub-township hard which was hit hard.
A government official who requested anonymity disclosed that, “We found 23 dead bodies by yesterday (Sunday) evening and we will try to find the remaining four if the weather is good today,”
Landslides are common in the area due to the deep gouges dug deep in the ground by impoverished locals who search for pieces of jade in the area to make a living for themselves.
Members of the Rawang ethnic group are mainly Christians numbering only about 70,000 people and are one of Myanmar’s smallest ethnicity.
One of the locals reported to news sources that funerals have been held for the victims whose bodies have been recovered by their respective families. He also reiterated that the local villages have been hit hard by the flood and mudslides.
Kachin is a top producer of quality jade which is mostly smuggled over the border to China whose appetite for the semi-precious metal is much higher than the supply; the Jade market is worth about $31 billion but has little regulations and poor oversight which divert profits from the Myanmar government into private coffers.
Jade is an important national resource that has fuelled a decade long conflict between ethnic insurgents and Myanmar Military who battle to gain control over the jade mines.
The Myanmar military has also been accused of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in the region with reports of summary executions, rape, arson and systematic murder of ethnic Rohingya Muslims carried out by Myanmar’s military.