A general view shows miners at an artisanal gold mine near Kamituga in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
About 50 people are feared dead after a gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo following torrential rain, local authorities said on Saturday.
The accident in the makeshift mine occurred on Friday in the town of Kamituga, in South Kivu province.
Provincial governor Theo Ngwabidje Kasi deplored “the tragic deaths of 50 people, most of them young.”
However, Kamituga mayor Alexandre Bundya said “we are not yet sure of the exact number” of victims.
A local resident who was at the scene, Jean Nondo, told AFP that “according to witnesses, there are more than 50 dead. There is only one survivor.”
He said a river close to the mine had flooded after torrential rain.
“Water went into the three tunnels. When people tried to get out, there was no way as the water was flowing strongly, with high pressure,” he said.
Bundya blamed “soil subsidence caused by torrential rain” for the accident.
The mayor decreed a two-day mourning period and called on local residents to help extract the bodies from the ground.
Accidents in DR Congo's makeshift mines are a common occurrence, and are often deadly.
Many such mines are in remote areas, meaning the accidents are under-reported.
The miners sell what they find to local traders, who sell it on to large foreign companies.
“Investigations must be carried out to find out the causes of this disaster,” said a representative of the civil society, Nicolas Kyalangalilwa.
“The authorities must take responsibility instead of taxing” these miners.
Survivors estimated about 23 people were trapped in the rubble when the mine in Central Sulawesi province’s Parigi Moutong district collapsed late on Wednesday due to unstable soil, said Andrias Hendrik Johannes, who heads the local search and rescue agency.
Assam and Bihar have been among the worst hit. TV footage showed roads and railway lines in Bihar submerged.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said additional resources were required to deal with the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A third wave of coronavirus infections is likely to hit India by October, and although it will be better controlled than the latest outbreak the pandemic will remain a public health threat for at least another year, according to a poll of medical experts.
He added, “What we experience today will become something of the past tomorrow. Joining university and getting a degree was the ultimate end of our parents, but I assure you that education will never come to an end."
In a flash of a second, the men started to climb the pipe attached to the building forming a human chain.