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Death toll in DR Congo landslide climbs to 140

© AFP/File | Fishing on Lake Albert is one of the main occupations in Ituri province, northeast DR Congo, which borders Uganda

BUNIA (DR CONGO) (AFP) - 

The death toll from a landslide that swept over a fishing village on the banks of a lake in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo has reached 140, the government said Monday.

"We estimate that there at least a hundred bodies buried underneath the rumble of large rocks that fell on the 48 destroyed homes," the deputy governor of Ituri Province, Pacifique Keta, told AFP.

The landslide occurred last Wednesday in the village of Tora on the banks of Lake Albert when part of a mountain engulfed a fishing camp after heavy rains.

At the time, the government said 40 people had died.

Keta said authorities have decided to suspend the search for bodies to "prioritise the disinfection of the area" -- a measure designed to prevent the spreading of possible diseases to nearby fishing villages.

Fishing on Lake Albert is one of the main occupations in Ituri, which borders Uganda.

The vast country has experienced several similar disasters, including a mudslide in May 2010 that killed 19 people, though the bodies of 27 others were never recovered.

In February 2002, about 50 people were found dead after a wave of mud and rocks hit the eastern town of Uvira, submerging about 150 homes.

© 2017 AFP