One of the world’s leading mission agencies has called for “compassionate prayer” after more than 160 people lost their lives in a horrific mudslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar.

Several Christians living in a nearby village work at the jade mine, but fortunately no one from the local church was reported missing or dead, Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org) said.

A GFA-supported pastor is “ ministering to bereaved families, comforting them and praying for them.”

The pastor said several of his church members were late going to work and missed the landslide. Now he’s ministering to bereaved families, comforting them and praying for them, GFA World said.

According to news reports, a massive river of mud and rock triggered by heavy rains swept into the mining site, burying workers and people scavenging for precious stones. A state official described it as “like a tsunami.”

‘Compassionate Prayer’

“Our heartfelt prayers are with the families of all the workers who died in this terrible disaster as well as the injured,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “The people of Myanmar are among the most kind-hearted and loving on the planet. Right now, we can lift them up to our Lord Jesus in compassionate prayer.”

The disaster -- which occurred on July 2 in the Hpakant area of Kachin state -- was captured on video, showing the mudslide pouring into the mining site.

On a typical day, hundreds of people gather at the site to sift through rubble looking for precious jade stones. Myanmar -- formerly known as Burma -- is the world’s biggest source of jade.

People stand atop a ridge overlooking the scene of a mudslide at a jade gemstone mining site
[Photo Credit: Zaw Moe Htet via AP] People stand atop a ridge overlooking the scene of a mudslide at a jade gemstone mining site

Right now, heavy monsoon rains are lashing parts of northeast India -- another area prone to disastrous flooding and potentially deadly landslides. Since May, catastrophic floods have killed more than 80 people in the region, and 2.5 million have been forced to flee their homes.

The deadly flooding comes as India faces a spike in COVID-19 cases. The South Asian nation -- the second most populous country in the world -- now has more than 1.1 million recorded COVID-19 cases, the third highest after the U.S. and Brazil.

GFA World provides emergency aid, clean water, education, vocational training, and spiritual support to millions of South Asia’s poorest and most vulnerable families.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God.