Democratic Republic of Congo Train Crash Deaths to Rise Above 50Michael J. Kavanagh
The death toll from a train derailment in the Democratic Republic of Congo will probably climb above the 50 people known to have died as rescuers sift through the wreckage, Katangan Governor Moise Katumbi said.
The train was exceeding the speed limit when it derailed about 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside Kamina town in Katanga province on April 22, Katumbi said today in an interview. At least 200 people were injured in the accident, he said. Passengers were riding on the roof and hanging from the sides of the cargo train, he said.
“The problem was too much speed” on railway tracks that haven’t been refurbished since Belgian colonial times, Katumbi said. The train may have been traveling as fast as 60 kilometers an hour in a 15-kilometer-per-hour zone, he said.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo is providing medical support and air transport to the government in the remote area.
Congo’s state-owned railway company, the Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo, is undertaking a rail-refurbishment project in Katanga that may cost as much as $500 million over the next four years and is partly supported by the World Bank.
Congo is Africa’s largest producer of copper and the world’s biggest source of cobalt, almost all of which comes from Katanga.