After the torrential rainfall on Thursday, authorities initially reported that 200 people had died. However, the death toll has now risen to over 400 following floods and landslides that hit two villages in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week.
Heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding in various parts of the DRC, affecting thousands of people and displacing many from their homes.
The flooding was particularly severe in several villages close to the shore of Lake Kivu, where it overflowed its banks and submerged several neighborhoods.
Individuals in several villages near the shore of Lake Kivu are searching for missing loved ones by hand-digging through mud in a desperate attempt.
In the villages of Bushushu and Nyamukubi located in South Kivu province, the bodies wrapped in blankets are being stacked up by the residents.
The flooding in Kinshasa caused significant damage to infrastructure and homes, with reports of collapsed buildings and submerged roads.
Many residents were forced to evacuate their homes and seek shelter in temporary accommodations or with relatives. The flooding also disrupted transportation and commerce in the areas.
Since the floods struck four days ago, the death toll has continued to rise, reaching a minimum of 394 casualties.
A national day of mourning will take place on Monday, with flags flying at half-mast. President Félix Tshisekedi is scheduled to visit the affected regions.
In Nyamukubi, a grief-stricken mother stated that although her husband survived and is hospitalized, she lost all of her children.
“It’s like the end of the world,” 27-year-old Gentille Ndagijimana, who also lost her parents and two sisters, told the AFP news agency.
Dwellings constructed from planks of wood with roofs made of corrugated iron were carried away by the floods. As per a spokesperson from the medical non-governmental organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a few regions have been virtually obliterated.
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“In two of the most affected areas where MSF is staying now, between half and three-quarters of the towns have been completely washed away,” Igor Garcia Barbero told the BBC’s Newsday programme.
According to Reuters, the United Nations has cautioned that 3,000 families are now displaced due to the catastrophe.
The Red Cross in South Kivu has expressed concern for the safety of the flood survivors who are homeless, citing potential risks of assault and rape for those residing with host families and in lodging facilities.
Recently, there have been floods in some African counties recently like Kenya and Rwanda, resulting in a significant loss of life.
Rwanda has reported around 115 deaths while in Kenya, at least 15 people have lost their lives.
Poor housing monitoring and inadequate infrastructure have been identified as key factors contributing to these devastating floods. Many people in Africa build houses without professional supervision and in unsuitable locations, exacerbating the risk of flooding and the resultant loss of life.
Overall, a multi-pronged approach involving both preventive and responsive measures is necessary to address the impact of floods in African affected countries.