Construction worker dies in landslide on building site that was guaranteed to be safe

July 28, 2020

HURFOM: At the 14th Mon State Parliament Regular Meeting, the State government guaranteed the construction of a four-story building on the hillside at the Sarsanar 2500 monastery, Sit Kel Kone Ward, in Mawlamyine had no chance of creating a landslide. However, on July 24, 2020, a landslide occurred and a worker lost his life.

In order to do construction, a wall to support the hillside was constructed in June. The trees were cut down to do the construction. As a result, the land became unstable and caused a landslide. A construction worker was killed.” said U Tin Htut, the Administrator of Sit Kel Kone Ward, Mawlamyine.

2019 saw a number of landslides in Mon State, and people who live on the hillside of the Sarsanar 2500 monastery worried about the possibility of the same thing happening near them, so they filed a report with the appropriate government department, expressing their concerns.

The (building site, which was confirmed by the  current Minister of Municipal Affairs and Construction, had [previously] experienced landslides. It hasn’t rained yet. When lots of rain comes, the people who live in the hillside are facing risk,” said a local resident.

The recent death of the construction worker is now more worrying to the community. 

Losing things is not a problem but when we lose our lives, we can do nothing. The land has cracks. Those who have money have moved to another place but what can the government do for the poor who can’t move to another place? When it’s raining, we are all afraid of landslides, and all my family members sleep outside the house,” said Ko Aung Thura, a resident who lives on the hillside.

According to the Administrator, in order to construct a wall to support the hillside, the Mon State Minister of Environment and Natural Resource Dr Min Kyi Win, the Department of Irrigation, the Ye Lawmaker, Dr Min Soe Lin, and Nai Raja of the Mon Literature and Culture Committee had met with local residents three times in March.

There are about 22 houses at the hillside of Sit Kel Kone Ward where the landslide occurred.

Debate has followed since the landslide, the Municipal township is asking who allowed the construction of the retaining wall?  Residents indicated it was the Village Administrator.  However, U Tin Htut, claims he did not give permission.

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