Kinshasa — Paulin Bolumbu thought his family lived a safe distance from the Congo River, but in November the water overran its banks by more than 500m, inundating his corrugated iron house.

“The river often bursts its banks but it never came up to this level,” said Bolumbu, clambering across wooden planks he had installed to create a makeshift floor above the floodwater for the family's beds and clothing...

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