At least seven children have been killed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after a fire broke out at the camp of the displaced by landslides.
The camp, located in the town of Kalehe, has been the home of about 420 families from Bushushu village on Lake Kivu, near the eastern border with Rwanda. The village was washed by heavy rain and landslides in May 2023.
The fire erupted on Saturday afternoon and killed seven children aged 1–5 years old. Thomas Bakenga, the regional administrator for the Kalehe region, said, “The fire started in the hut in the middle of the site, where a child was cooking while the parents weren’t there.”
According to Thomas, around 360 huts of plastic tarps with thatched roofs were destroyed in the blaze.
Delphin Birimbi, the leader of a local civic group, confirmed the number of victims and homes lost and urged the government and NGOs to work together to aid these disaster victims.
The eastern DRC, which is already home to armed groups engaged in conflict with the central government, experienced flooding and mudslides that, according to the United Nations office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, left over 3000 families homeless.