Flash floods kill nearly 200 people in the DRC

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At least 176 people have died after flash floods in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu province, said local authorities, on Friday (May 5). This also comes days after flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rains killed more than 100 people in neighbouring Rwanda.
Flash floods triggered by heavy rains have devastated the Congo’s South Kivu province and even caused a river to overflow on Thursday which has since led to significant damage and loss of life in the villages of Bushushu and Nyamukubi, said the provincial government, in a statement.
South Kivu Governor Théo Ngwabidje Kasi put the death toll at 176 and said that other people were still missing, while a local civil society member, Kasole Martin, said 227 bodies had been found. “People are sleeping out in the open, schools and hospitals have been swept away,” said Martin, as quoted by Reuters.
Reportedly, as the weather had somewhat cleared on Friday, flattened houses and corrugated iron roofs jutting out from beneath thick layers of mud were seen, while haggard-looking survivors stood outside a wooden shed in which Red Cross workers placed bodies on top of each other.
Meanwhile, Archimede Karhebwa, the assistant administrator of South Kivu’s Kalehe territory, which was also hit by the floods, told AFP that about 100 people had died, adding that several villages in Kalehe, which lies west of Lake Kivu, were submerged when rivers burst their banks after heavy rains.
Speaking to AFP, the official also said how the floods “surprised vendors and their clients in the markets” as they swept away hundreds of houses. The heavy rains, as per officials, began late Thursday afternoon before the “river carried away villagers”.
An elected official from Kalehe territory, Vital Muhini, speaking on local radio said that the floods have caused “devastating human and material damage.” According to Karhebwa, deforestation in the area has contributed to the flooding problem as the rivers have burst their banks and caused disastrous flooding on four previous occasions.
He added, “We are sending out an SOS to people of good will and for urgent humanitarian aid,” as quoted by AFP. However, floods and landslides are not uncommon occurrences in South Kivu.
The recent floods come nearly a decade after heavy rain destroyed more than 700 homes and more than 130 people were reported missing at the time, reported Reuters, citing United Nations. Additionally, just a month after at least 21 people died and several were reported missing in a landslide in North Kivu province.

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