| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

At least 40 more people die in floods and landslides in DR Congo

At least 40 additional people have died in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to local authorities, after torrential rains overnight Tuesday triggered floods and landslides, leaving residents sifting through mud to discover bodies.

Onlookers gathered in Bukavu on Wednesday to watch as a group of men lifted a car out of the muck to collect a woman’s body from beneath, according to a Reuters witness.

At least 20 people died in Bukavu and at least 20 more were killed in the village of Burinyi, 50 kms (31 miles) from Bukavu, according to officials in the two places.

Bukavu resident Yvonne Mukupi, who was able to stay clear of the deluge, said her neighbour was swept away by the flood waters.

“We have managed to recover three bodies under the trees but others have not been found yet,” she said.

Poor urban planning and weak infrastructure make communities like Mukupi’s more vulnerable to extreme rainfall, which is becoming more intense and frequent in Africa due to warming temperatures, according to United Nations climate experts.

“When rain falls, the main waterway gets clogged sometimes because of the waste, so it gets flooded and it affects the houses,” Bukavu official Emmanuel Majivuno Kalimba told Reuters at the scene, as residents worked to salvage belongings from their damaged homes.

The overnight devastation follows the deaths of at least 22 people in Kasai-Central province on Tuesday when a landslide swallowed houses, churches and roads, killing entire families and leaving people homeless.

  • Reuters