Death toll in DR Congo landslide climbs to 140

The death toll from a landslide that swept over a fishing village on the banks of a lake in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo has reached 140, the government said Monday.

“We estimate that there at least a hundred bodies buried underneath the rumble of large rocks that fell on the 48 destroyed homes,” the deputy governor of Ituri Province, Pacifique Keta, told AFP.

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The landslide occurred last Wednesday in the village of Tora on the banks of Lake Albert when part of a mountain engulfed a fishing camp after heavy rains.

At the time, the government said 40 people had died.

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Keta said authorities have decided to suspend the search for bodies to “prioritise the disinfection of the area” — a measure designed to prevent the spreading of possible diseases to nearby fishing villages.

Fishing on Lake Albert is one of the main occupations in Ituri, which borders Uganda.

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The vast country has experienced several similar disasters, including a mudslide in May 2010 that killed 19 people, though the bodies of 27 others were never recovered.

In February 2002, about 50 people were found dead after a wave of mud and rocks hit the eastern town of Uvira, submerging about 150 homes.

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