The Democratic Republic of Congo will seek compensation from the owners of an Angolan diamond mine that polluted drinking water that led to 12 deaths and made thousands ill, an official confirmed Friday.
Deputy Prime Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Eve Bazaiba told reporters that the government is still conducting an assessment to determine the exact amount of damages.
“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 harmonized 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.”
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.
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 affected residents, Bazaiba cited dead fish, cases of diarrhea and death, among documented evidence.
Bazaiba said last week that more than 4,000 cases of diarrhea 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.