MYANMAR – At least 100 miners died while about 200 others were still missing following a landslide near a jade mine in the Katchin State area of Hpakant in Northern Myanmar Saturday morning.

The miners were mostly asleep in their houses when the landslide flattened their homes at the base of the mine dump. Most of the victims were villagers digging for jade in a mountain of displaced earth.

It was unclear what triggered the landslide in the mountainous region that is almost entirely off limits to foreigners.

The landslide happened when a mountain of mining debris gave way in the early hours of Saturday in Hpakant, an area that produces some of the world’s highest-quality jade. The mines and debris dump sites are hazardous and deadly accidents are common.

Global Witness, an organization that investigates the misuse of revenue from natural resources, put the value of Myanmar’s jade production as high as $31 billion in 2014. The group says “This figure equates to nearly half of the entire country’s GDP [gross national product], and over 46 times national spending on health, yet the local population sees little benefit.”

Rescue efforts by the Myanmar Red Cross and other groups have been made to find and recover survivors; one person was pulled from the rubble alive, but subsequently died from their injuries. Ninety bodies have been reported as having been recovered.

An unknown number of people have been reported as missing. The total number of casualties cannot be accurately estimated, as the precise number of people living near the site is not known. –