Mine Disasters Are Especially Harrowing, For This Blogger… “But For The Grace… There Go I”

These things always seem to come in threes. . . (and my own other two, for September, I’ve mentioned previously in footnotes).

But mining deaths. . . they strike directly at my growing sense of mortality (prior 2018 one, there). Doubly so, where even minimal mine safety regulations and site inspections, and water pumping equipment, would almost certainly have saved all 50 of these young lives. There are no re-breathers in these cramped tunnels; support timbering is woefully inadequate to non-existent, as the photo shows — and almost no one can afford to buy, let alone be issued, any gear beyond a cap-lamp.

Do keep these miners and their families in your meditations. . . as they now travel out, into the Infinite. Here’s a bit, via local press coverage, from inside the Democratic Republic of Congo:

. . .Informal gold miners in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo scoured rubble on Saturday for more than 50 colleagues presumed dead after a mine collapsed under the weight of heavy rain.

Hundreds of young men in rubber boots crowded around the site of Friday’s cave-in, with some removing rocks by hand from the muddy hillside, video footage showed.

Dozens of people die each year in accidents in largely unregulated artisanal mines in Congo, where often ill-equipped diggers burrow deep underground, in search for gold, cobalt and other ore bodies.

Alexandre Bundya, mayor of the nearby town of Kamituga, Mpila, ordered two days of mourning. The office of the governor of South Kivu province, Theo Kasi, said most of the victims were young people and expressed condolences to their families.

“The search continues to identify our deceased compatriots, bring assistance and implement measures to prevent such incidents from repeating,” Kasi’s office said in a statement. . . .

This is a largely-unsolvable problem: with under-staffed governmental offices, and remote “no roads” access to small bits of potentially sustaining income, buried under hundreds of feet of loose clay soil. People will simply do. . . what they need do, to survive. Truly tragic. Almost no one in these artisanal mines ever becomes wealthy, or moves away — they simply are able to eat. . . for a few more years. Before the next cave-in. . . .


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