File photo: A Congolese miner works at an artisanal gold mine near Kamituga in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 1, 2018

image copyrightReuters

image captionThere have been many accidents in DR Congo’s informal mines (file photo)

Rescuers are digging through rubble after a gold mine collapsed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, leaving about 50 people feared dead.

The mine near Kamituga town, in the east of the country, caved in on Friday amid torrential rain.

Local officials say most of those feared dead are young people, and have called for two days of mourning.

Accidents are common in DR Congo’s mining industry, which has poor safety standards.

Video footage showed hundreds of people attempting to clear the rubble blocking the entrance of the mine, with some rescuers using shovels, or their hands, to move debris.

The local governor of South Kivu province, Theo Kasi, said he was saddened by “the tragic deaths of 50 people, most of them young”.

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However, the mayor of Kamituga, Alexandre Bundya, said, “we are not yet sure of the exact number” of those killed, AFP news reports.

An eyewitness told AFP that heavy rains meant that “water went into the three tunnels. When people tried to get out, there was no way as the water was flowing strongly”.

image copyrightReuters
image captionWomen and children are among those known to work in DR Congo’s informal mines (file photo)

Mr Kasi’s office added that he would “implement measures to prevent such incidents from repeating”.

DR Congo has rich reserves of minerals like cobalt, diamonds, copper and gold, but its people remain among the poorest in the world following years of conflict and mismanagement.

media captionWhy are people in mineral-rich DR Congo among the world’s poorest?

Related Topics

  • Mining

  • Democratic Republic of Congo

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