More Than 50 People Dead After Landslides Collapse Three Gold Mines in Eastern Congo

People gathered to observe and help recover the dead after the collapse of three artisanal gold mines near the city of Kamituga in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit…Jeff Mwenyemali/Maisha RDC, via Associated Press

More than 50 people are dead after landslides caused the collapse of three artisanal gold mines near the city of Kamituga in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu province on Friday, officials said.

Heavy rains for days led to the disaster.

“The diggers and the transporters of the stones were swallowed up by the waters,” said Kamituga’s mayor, Alexandre Bundya. “A team of rescuers with motor pumps came to recover the bodies of the victims.”

Diwa Honoré, who survived the tragedy, said more than 50 people had been in the three mines, which are about 55 yards deep.

“Kamituga is in mourning,” wrote Dieudonné Bazika, sharing a video on social media showing the aftermath. Hundreds of people gathered to observe and help in rescue efforts.

Most of the dead were young people, according to a statement from the office of the governor of South Kivu, Theo Ngwabidje Kasi, who offered condolences to families.

“Investigations continue to identify our deceased compatriots, to provide assistance and to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies,” the statement said.

Artisanal mining quarries are often unsafe in eastern Congo and in Kasai, a western province. Women and children also work in the mines to make ends meet. Deadly collapses occurred earlier this year in two other regions, killing at least 18 people.

SOURCE: The Associated Press