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At least 20 people have died following landslides caused by torrential rains which hit the South Kivu region in eastern Congo, officials announced on Friday.

That brings to more than 60 the number of deaths caused by flooding and landslides in Congo in the past week alone.

Officials said the landslides swallowed up houses and dwellings on Thursday in the locality of Burhiny, in the Mwenga territory.

“The 20 deaths are the direct result of landslides that buried houses,” said territory administrator Walubila Ishikitilo.

The government said on Friday that it was deploying emergency assistance to those affected and evacuating residents from the area.

Flooding also affected other parts of the country on Friday, including the capital, Kinshasa, on the banks of the Congo River, and parts of Kasai province.

The latest come just about 48 hours after landslides claimed the lives of more than 20 artisanal miners in Kamituga, also in the Mwenga territory, on Tuesday, according to officials.

On Wednesday, 21 people died from landslides caused by torrential rains in Bukavu, an area in South Kivu.

Observers have blamed the extent of the damage caused by torrential rains, flooding and landslides in South Kivu on the illegal construction of houses in unauthorized locations. Since the beginning of December, at least 100 people have lost their lives.

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