22 November 2022
Rubaya: at least 32 people killed in landslides in the Democratic Republic of Congo
There are various reports that landslides occurred in the towns of Rubaya and Bihambwe in the Masisi (North Kivu) part of the Democratic Republic of Congo on 18 November 2022, killing 32 people. Of these 26 people were killed at Rubaya, whilst six were killed at Bihambwe. It is not clear as to whether this was a single landslide that affected both sites, or two separate landslides. Radio Kapi has an image of a large landslide, but again it is not clear as to whether this is the event that cost so may lives at Rubaya:-
The landslides were triggered by heavy rainfall, but appear to have been associated with illegal and/or unregulated mining activities. Floodlist reports extensive flooding and landslides in the Democratic Republic of Congo since early November, including four deaths in Bunyakiri in the territory of Kalehe in South Kivu.
A freelance journalist, Baraka Munyampfura Héritier, has tweeted a short video of a landslide destroying houses in the area. The interesting part happens in the first 15 seconds:-
#RDC Au_moins vingt personnes sont mortes samedi et vendredi dans des éboulements et inondations causés par des fortes pluies dans le site minier de #Rubaya en territoire de #Masisi au #Nord_Kivu. Parmi les victimes des creuseurs et villageois selon l' #AFP. pic.twitter.com/r1pct2vuiA
— Baraka MUNYAMPFURA Héritier (@HeritierBarak) November 20, 2022
There is little information at present as to the circumstances of this event.
The mines at Rubaya are described in Wikipedia. They appear to be focused on the extraction of coltan (tantalite), from which niobium and tantalum are extracted. These mines are in the vicinity of -1.558, 28.884. The Google Earth imagery of the area does not present a pretty picture:-
There is a lack of detail about landslides of this type in parts of Africa. It seems likely that events are substantially under-reported.