DRC flash floods death toll rises to at least 287
South Kivu province officials say 167 others missing
The death toll caused by flooding and landslides in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last week has risen to at least 287, officials in South Kivu province said at the weekend
President Felix Tshisekedi declared a day of mourning on Monday and plans to visit the area.
The death toll is expected to rise as officials in South Kivu province had reported 167 people missing and 205 seriously injured after heavy rainfall caused rivers to overflow on Thursday, inundating the towns of Bushushu and Nyamukubi. Several homes and buildings were also destroyed.
“People are sleeping out in the open, schools and hospitals have been swept away,” a local civil society member, Kasole Martin, said.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres offered his condolences to the victims on Saturday. “This is yet another illustration of accelerating climate change and its disastrous impact on countries that have done nothing to contribute to global warming,” he said during a visit to Burundi.
On Friday, survivors stood outside a wooden shed in which Red Cross workers in blue scrubs placed bodies on top of each other. Many had lost clothing and were covered in mud. A Reuters reporter counted 72 corpses.
The corrugated iron roofs of flattened houses jutted out from beneath thick layers of mud, photos showed.
Dr Robert Masamba at Kalehe territory’s main hospital said 80% of the injured his team treated had fractures.
Floods and landslides are not uncommon in South Kivu, which shares a border with Rwanda. Heavy rains also triggered flooding and landslides in Rwanda last week, killing 130 people and destroying more than 5,000 homes.
The last incident of a similar scale in the DRC occurred in October 2014, when heavy rainfall destroyed more than 700 homes. More than 130 people were reported missing at the time, according to the UN.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.