As the race to save 8 workers trapped in a zinc mine entered its third week, Burkinabe authorities are still cautiously hopeful.
A government delegation travelled Thursday to the Canadian-operated mine located in the city of Perkoa. There, on April 18 miners were trapped as the underground section of the mine flooded due to heavy rain. The Minister for Public services, Bassolma Bazié, Minister for Public Services, explained how the rescue operation was proceeding.
"We need to get to that refuge chamber quickly and then check it out. We also checked the refuge room that has already been released where no one was found, if truly the conditions that they described outside are found inside as we have seen, we can only hope."
Families of miners -- six Burkinabe, a Zambian and a Tanzanian -- continued to campaign for accountability as rescuers battled to pump water out of the mine.
"At first we noticed a certain carlessness on the part of the mines-operator therefore we had to raise our voice and we called on the authorities and in turn they contacted the mine company, and that was the game changer", Antoine Bama, spokesman for the families of the victims reveals.
On Wednesday, the emergency committee relocated to Perkoa, a hundred km west of Ougadougou. An end to the rescue operation was initially scheduled on May 5 but the equipment has suffered recurrent breakdowns further delaying the objectives of the team.
"I am happy because the government is putting pressure on those in charge of the mines so that the work progresses, Micheline Bazemo the niece of a victim says. This is what gives us hope, but if there had been this pressure from the beginning, we would not be here today."
As time passes, some miners' relatives believe only a miracle can enable them to reunite with them alive and well.