At least one child died and two others missing in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo following a landslide.
The deceased child was said to have died of suffocation while two disappeared in a volcanic accident. Last Tuesday, the World Food Programme destroyed rotten flour and rice in Nyiragongo, north-east of the city of Goma.
The children, aged 10 to 15, were swept away by a landslide in a bid to recover the food. Seven children escaped the landslide. The search for the missing continues.
“I was in the fields, I arrived home around 3pm and I heard that some children had fallen into the rift. When I arrived at the scene of the accident, a child told me that he was with my son Japhet in the rift. The young people mobilized to get them out, but to no avail. So we came very early this morning to try again, but nothing progresses, so I’m waiting here” said Desire Musekura, a father of one of the victims told our Correspondent, Mpoyo Ngole Gael.
The families of the victims are inconsolable. They have blamed the World Food Programme.
“The WFP knows that the population is going through a moment of famine, that with the confinement we no longer go to the market, we no longer work. Why didn’t they distribute this food to the population? There are old people dying of hunger, orphans who have nothing, and because of that the children came to recover the spoiled food and they fell down! This situation hurts us very much. Why wait for the food to rot? Don’t let them bring such stories here anymore, today we are crying for our children!”, a survivor’s mother, Nabintu Pelagie lamented.
The provincial government is considering sanctions against the WFP agents involved in the case. Carly Nzanzu Kasivita is North Kivu governor.
“They make the population of North Kivu province unsafe because the product declared unfit for consumption is considered poison, and for us we can’t tolerate this behavior, that’s why we first put them at the disposal of justice and disciplinary actions are opened for those agents who couldn’t give good advice”, Kasivita said.
Civil protection and MONUSCO teams have been deployed to assist the missing. Efforts to reach the WFP have proved futile, our correspondent said.