Theo Kasi, the provincial governor of South Kivu, reported that the week’s torrential rains caused deadly floods and landslides in the communities of Bushushu and Nyamukubi in the Kalehe region.
With at least 401 documented deaths in the impacted areas, the effect has been catastrophic. Videos of the devastation wrought by the flowing water and muck, which left wrecked structures and debris spread across the communities, are upsetting to see.
Due to impassable mud roads that have hampered rescue operations, residents have been forced to make risky decisions, like wading through lakes. An activist in Kalehe named Valet Chebujongo emphasised the urgent need for a secure relocation spot for the victims and asked the populace to avoid accessing the lake and rivers at this time.
The absence of equipment to clean the mud and landslides off the roads, however, has made the situation much worse and forced residents to resort to crossing the lake, which is riskier.
Rescue efforts are still on in the disaster-stricken region despite the difficult conditions. The afflicted residents have been relocated to safer areas, and the provincial administration has taken action by providing medical attention for those who have been hurt. Monday was designated as a day of national mourning in commemoration of the flood victims by President Felix Tshisekedi. A government team has been sent to Kalehe to aid in the local reaction.
Flood catastrophes are a common occurrence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is situated within the River Congo Basin. A World Bank analysis that projects an increase in the frequency and severity of climate-related catastrophes, particularly floods in the nation, emphasises how climate change exacerbates these occurrences.
This most recent tragedy intensifies the DRC’s continuing battle against the catastrophic effects of floods. Over 120 individuals lost their lives in Kinshasa’s devastating floods in December as a result of heavy rainfall.
Over 15,000 homes were destroyed and at least 25 people died as a result of floods in South Kivu in 2020, adding to the difficulty of a region already devastated by armed strife. Around 39 people perished in landslides that occurred in Kinshasa a few months earlier as a consequence of excessive rainfall.