2 July 2020
Sate Mu village: another dreadful jade mining landslide in Myanmar
Today (2 July 2020) another dreadful landslide has occurred in the Hpakant jade mining area of Kachin state in Myanmar. Loyal readers will know that this is the most frequent location for major landslide tragedies anywhere in the world.
The landslide this morning occurred close to Sate Mu village in Hpakant. The latest figures in terms of lives lost are given on the Facebook Page of the Myanmar Fire Service, who report 113 victims recovered so far, with search and rescue operations continuing. There appear to be fears that there may be many more people buried.
Earlier reports suggest that this was a failure of a tall slope (the report suggests 304 metres, but this seems surprising) on to people scavenging for jade. In general people who undertake this type of scavenging work on the spoil piles from the mining operations, so this may well be a mine waste failure once again. The landslide appears to be associated with heavy monsoon rainfall.
Huge care is needed in the interpretation of images in newspapers from these types of events as they frequently recycle pictures from earlier events. However, the this image of the Sate Mu landslide from the Myanmar Fire Service is probably genuine:-
This would seem to indicate that this video, which was posted to Twitter, might also be genuine. I don’t think I have seen this video before, and in basic configuration it appears to fit the situation. The jury is still out though:-
Hopefully more will emerge in the next day or so, but the Sate Mu landslide might well be the most deadly landslide in the jade mining areas of Myanmar to date. In September 2018 I summarised the known landslide fatalities in Hpakant to that point.
Quickslide 1: At least six people killed in landslides in Brazil
A rapidly intensifying cyclone caused heavy rainfall in Santa Catarina in southern Brazil. Some news reports indicate that six of the fatalities were caused by landslides.
Quickslide 2: Further landslide losses in Assam
Heavy rainfall in Assam has caused a further round of landslides and flooding in northern India.