The Democratic Republic of Congo will demand compensation from the owners of an Angolan diamond after polluted water killed 12 and left at least 1,000 others critically ill.
DR Congo’s Deputy Prime Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Eve Bazaiba, on Friday, said her 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 crisis was reported after a diamond mining complex allegedly released toxic substances from July to August, contaminating Angolan rivers Kasai and Tshikapa which flow into DR Congo.
According to Bagaiba, the Angolan government has acknowledged the pollution source, and she believes that compensation can be obtained after evidence is gathered.
Bazaiba noted that the focus was on how to support the affected residents, listing dead fish, diarrhoea, and death cases as documented evidence.
Bazaiba said last week 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.