congo rainforest
The Congo rainforestValerius Tygart

Officials are now putting the death toll at 126, following the capsizing of a boat on Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday. This is a substantial increase over their previous statement that 26 people died.

There were many women and children among the dead. Of the more than 200 survivors, most were men. Rescue workers have been searching the area since the incident. Survivors were found up to 48 hours afterwards, desperately holding onto floating debris.

Transport minister Laurent Kahozi Sumba stated: "The search for other survivors and bodies is continuing." Officials say strong winds and overloading caused the vessel to sink. Shipwrecks are common in the

Officials say strong winds and overloading caused the vessel to sink. Shipwrecks are common in the Congo's lakes and rivers. A neglect of basic principles of health and safety is often to blame. Boats are frequently overloaded, life jackets often missing, and many passengers cannot swim.

The incident comes as NGOs are warning of an accelerating humanitarian crisis in the region. They estimate that there are 600,000 displaced people in Katanga province, a massive increase from their 2011 estimate of 55,000. The growing problem is exacerbated by a shortage of

The growing problem is exacerbated by a shortage of UN peacekeepers and a lack of funding for relief work – dealing with other global crises is reducing the funds that NGOs can make available in Congo.

It is now more than an decade after the official end of the 1998-2003 war in Congo during which millions of people lost their lives. Donors have been keen to switch their efforts from emergency aid to long-term development. But the deteriorating situation in Katanga, which the UNHCR has labelled "catastrophic" means that the focus must stay on emergency relief.

Donors have been keen to switch their efforts from emergency aid to long-term development. But the deteriorating situation in Katanga, which the UNHCR has labelled "catastrophic" means that the focus must stay on emergency relief.

Security problems are severely hampering current efforts. The UNHCR has urged the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo to increase its contingent of troops in Katanga. At present the UN has a contingent of just 450 soldiers in this vast province.