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Families mourn as Myanmar jade mine disaster kills more than 170

Aye Mon, 30, is left alone with a two-year-old daughter after her husband and younger brother died in Myanmar’s worst jade mine landslide that killed more than 170 people on Thursday.

In hopes of finding gems that might transform his future, her brother, Shwe Moe Tun, 22, had travelled more than 600km (370 miles) from his village in Monywa to Hpakant area of Kachin state in northern Myanmar, home to a secretive billion-dollar jade industry.

“My husband had been working in the jade mining business for more than 10 years. But it was the first time for my brother. It was his second working day in the mine,” Aye Mon told Al Jazeera.

At least 40 jade pickers killed in the disaster at Wai Khar mine were buried on Saturday, the country’s fire services department said on their Facebook page, while 77 others were interred in a mass grave on Friday.

Many more were cremated according to Buddhist traditions.

Rescue operations were still ongoing for the fourth day on Sunday as bodies of the victims were still being recovered from the site of the accident.

Aye Mon’s husband Soe Min, 31, and her brother were among hundreds of jade pickers at the mine when the disaster struck as heavy rains filled the mine with water, creating a lake.

A wall of the mine crashed into the lake, with the huge wave of mud resulting in the deadly landslide.

“My husband and my brother were both buried yesterday [Saturday]. I have nothing to depend on in my life. All I have left is just my two-year-old daughter,” Aye Mon said.


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