Authorities Halt Rescue Mission Following Landslide in Mon State’s Paung Township

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Mon State government has stopped a rescue mission to Ma Latt Taung, a hill in Mon State’s Paung Township after finding 69 bodies.

The operation began after Ma Latt hill collapsed on Thae Phyu Kon village on August 9 during heavy rains. Some 500 people including firefighters, rescue workers, respective authorities and locals participated in the mission.

“We have done over 90 percent of the rescue tasks so far. We didn’t find any dead bodies on August 18 or 19. That’s why we stopped our rescue mission,” Myint Than Win, director of the Mon State government’s office, told NMG. “If we need to, we will start the rescue mission again,” he added.

Some 27 houses and at least 169 people were affected by the landslide in Thae Phyu Kon. Among them, 87 people were rescued alive, and 47 were injured. During the rescue mission, workers discovered 69 bodies of villagers who were killed in the disaster.

Among those who were injured, one died at the hospital, making the death toll 70.

“Some people are still missing. I don’t know the exact number,” Win Zaw, the village headman of Thae Phyu Kon, said.

Geologists came and observed the landslide area and a report is forthcoming. According to Myint Than Win, the Mon State government is waiting to see the report’s findings and recommendations before moving forward.

The state government will reportedly provide 500,000 kyat (US$333) to survivors who lost family members in the landslide. The government has also offered to build houses for those who lost their homes, but the logistics and plan for this remains unknown.

Property lost in the landslide included 27 homes, a monastery, 10 cars, five 22-wheel trucks, two local-use trucks, two motorbikes, and cash and jewelry belonging to locals. Rescue workers returned cash and gold to owners after finding it.

Another landslide occurred in Mangyi village in Ye Township during the first week of August also due to heavy rainfall. One villager was killed and six were wounded. More landslides also occurred in Chaungzon and Paung townships that damaged local homes.