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Congo landslide death toll likely to reach 200: Officials

Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say the death toll from a rain-triggered massive landslide in the eastern parts of the African country could likely reach over 200.

Pacifique Keta, the vice governor of Ituri province, announced the news on Friday, adding that the estimate was based on the number of households submerged.

“There are many people submerged whom we were unable to save. The rescue is very complicated because there are mountains everywhere, which make it very difficult to have access,” he said.

The deadly landslide on Thursday swept over Tora, a fishing village, on the shores of Lake Albert, which is a seismically active region in the western Rift Valley. The landslide followed torrential rains in the rural community along the lake.

Initial figures said some 40 people had lost their lives in the incident.

“We are trying to enhance the emergency response. The aid agencies and MINUSCO (the UN peacekeeping force) are there to evacuate bodies and any survivors as quickly as possible,” Keta further said.

Located on a seismic fault line, the eastern regions of Congo are usually hit by earthquakes and volcano eruptions.

Back in May 2010, a mudslide heavily hit the eastern village of Kibiriga, claiming the lives of 19 people. The bodies of 27 missing people were never found. In February 2002, a raging stream of mud and rocks smashed the eastern town of Uvira and killed 50 people after submerging some 150 homes.

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