Water pollution kills 12 in DR Congo

Courtesy photo

Twelve people have died and thousands ill after drinking polluted water in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Deputy Prime Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Ms Eve Bazaiba, confirmed to reporters at the weekend that the water was polluted by an Angolan diamond mine.

She said government will seek compensation from the owners of the mining company.

“Currently, we are yet to establish the exact amount of damages because the initial assessment focused on sampling intoxication. The details will be given after a harmonised report of experts after visiting all affected areas in Kasai, Ilebo, Idiofa and Mai-Ndombe.” She said.

“After establishing the damages, the government will seek talks with the mining company on reparation through the right channels. But, so far, 12 deaths have been registered as a result of the pollution,” Ms Bazaiba continued.

The humanitarian crisis was reported after a diamond mining complex reportedly emitted toxic substances since July which polluted the Kasai and Tshikapa rivers that flow from Angola.

Ms Bazaiba said the Angolan government has acknowledged the source of pollution and she was hopeful about compensation after gathering evidence.

Noting that the focus was how to support the affected residents, the deputy prime minister cited dead fish, cases of diarrhoea and death, among documented evidence.

Ms Bazaiba said a fortnight ago that more than 4,000 cases of diarrhoea were registered in 13 of the 18 health zones affected in the Kasai region.

The polluted tributaries feed the Kasai River, west of the Central African country.

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