At least 200 people have been killed in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo after a landslide swept through a fishing village on the banks of Lake Albert in Ituri province, officials said.
Abdallah Pene Mbaka, governor of Ituri province, told AP news agency on Saturday that the estimate is based on missing people and homes affected in the Tora village.
He said 50 houses were destroyed from Wednesday’s landslide.
The governor called on the international community for emergency assistance with rescue and recovery efforts.
Pacifique Keta, deputy governor of Ituri province, confirmed to Al Jazeera on Friday that at least 60 bodies had been buried so far.
Rescue efforts have been affected because of inclement weather at the catastrophe zone.
“There are many people submerged whom we were unable to save,” Keta told Reuters news agency on Friday. “The rescue is very complicated because there are mountains everywhere, which makes it very difficult to have access.”
A UN humanitarian team, aid agencies and provincial delegations are assessing the damage on the ground.
The affected village is located between a mountainous area and Lake Albert.
Many parts of west and central Africa are vulnerable to landslides, because land is heavily deforested and communities crowd into steep hillsides.
Congo is in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, with about 7.7 million people on the verge of starvation, according to UN food agencies.
The disaster comes after more than 400 people were killed by a massive mudslide in Sierra Leone on Monday.
In May 2010, a mudslide swept over the eastern Congo village of Kibiriga and killed 19 people. 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.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies