Speaking on Radio Okapi, one nun reported that 15 people of her diocese had died. One doctor from the World Health Organisation reported from the city of Mbandaka, some 300 km northeast of Yumbi, that perhaps 45 people had died.
Although government authorities were reporting that many people had perished, they gave no precise figure. "Many homes have been destroyed, as have two Catholic schools, and numerous people remain buried in the rubble," Leonard Mashako Mamba, the minister of health, said.
He added that efforts were under way to get aid to the region. Yumbi, a town of about 30,000 inhabitants near the border of Equateur Province, is isolated and difficult to access, even though it lies along the River Congo. The nearest city equipped with even basic health facilities, Lokolela, is some 220 km away.
[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: Irin@ocha.unon.org or Web: http://www.irinnews.org . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial sites requires written IRIN permission.]
Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003