Home World 16 people died when an illegal gold mine collapsed in Venezuela

16 people died when an illegal gold mine collapsed in Venezuela

Collapse of an illegal gold mine in Venezuela.

An illegal gold mine in a remote location in southern Venezuela collapsed, killing at least 16 peopleaccording to a tally updated Wednesday evening by a local official.

The accident occurred on Tuesday afternoon in the “Bulla Loca” mine, seven hours by river from La Paragua (Bolívar state, south). According to a video released by authorities, dozens of people were working in the open-pit mine when an avalanche suddenly fell on land, trapping several of the miners while others jumped into the air in fright.

A compensation that President Nicolás Maduro has offered The toll of 15 dead and 11 injured was later updated to 16 dead by Bolívar’s Minister of Citizen Security, Edgar Colina Reyes.

“I express my condolences to the families and friends of these people who unfortunately lost their lives in this accident when this illegal mine collapsed,” the president said in a broadcast on state television.

Previously, Yorgi Arciniega, mayor of the municipality of Angostura, which includes La Paragua, had said 25 people were killed and 15 injureda balance that a Bolívar government report read by Maduro described “an act of desperation” in the face of tragedy.

Relatives were waiting for news in Puerto Guacara, in La Paragua, about 750 km southeast of Caracas and from where the boats set sail for the “Bulla Loca” mine.

The relatives of one of the dead miners wept inconsolably as they carried his body in a wooden box in the trunk of a truck. They took him to a small house with a tin roof, where his mother hugged other relatives.

“My little brother, my little brother,” a girl shouted near the sheet-covered body in a room packed for the wake.

Groups of young people on motorcycles accompanied the trucks carrying the bodies brought out of the mine. Several recorded the funeral processions on their cell phones.

“We ask that they assist us with helicopters to rescue the injured,” said a woman who was waiting for news from her brother-in-law, who is the father of three children aged 4, 6 and 7.

Damage assessment

The injured were taken to hospital in the state capital Ciudad Bolívar, about 200 km away About 200 people worked in this mineaccording to government estimates.

A rescue and rescue team also traveled to the area from Caracas to support search efforts.

“We are carrying out a damage assessment and rescue analysis and are working to carry out an investigation,” said Vice Minister of Risk Management and Protection Carlos Pérez Ampueda.

In La Paragua, many businesses did not open their doors.

Last December, at least twelve people died after a mine collapsed in the indigenous community of Ikabarú in the same state, where a “partial collapse” had occurred days earlier without causing any fatalities.

The mining arc region in Bolívar, which includes part of the Amazon, has an area of ​​112,000 km2 with large area Reserves of gold, diamonds, iron, bauxite, quartz and coltan.

It is an area exploited by the government but also occupied by illegal groups and criminal gangs.

“It should come,” commented Robinson Basanta, a local resident, pointing to the unsafe conditions in which the miners work, most of them in situations of extreme poverty.

“This mine has released a lot of gold (…) People go there out of necessity to make a living,” the man added.

Activists denounce “ecocide”. in the region and the exploitation of children and women who work long hours without protection.

Last year, Venezuelan forces expelled around 14,000 illegal miners from Yapacana National Park in the neighboring state of Amazonas.

With information from AFP.

ORP

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