Congo flooding has resulted in hundreds of deaths as of Monday, May 8, as raging floodwaters and landslides swept through villages in the eastern part of the country last week, according to reports.
Many dead bodies were found by emergency responders floating in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Lake Kivu.
More than a quarter of the fatalities were buried by local authorities in several mass graves.
The Congo flood death toll figure is expected to increase as search operations for victims and potential survivors are ongoing, according to authorities.
The disaster occurred when flash floods and mudslides struck homes and buildings in the Kalehe territory of South Kivu province, causing widespread disruption and a huge loss of life.
The severe weather came after similar heavy rain events affected thousands of people in East Arica, including in Kenya.
In Rwanda, flooding and landslides killed more than 130 people in recent days, as well as at least six people in Uganda.
The region is currently in its autumn season that spans from March to June each year.
(Photo : Photo by GUERCHOM NDEBO/AFP via Getty Images)
A general view of a landslide that engulfed Bushushu village, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. – The death toll from floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to nearly 400, an official said on May 7, 2023. At least 394 bodies have been recovered after last week’s floods, said Thomas Bakenga, administrator of Kalehe territory where the affected villages are located.
Over 400 people have died in the DRC as of Monday after bodies were retrieved following flooding and landslides in two villages in the said territory last week, according to a video report by BBC News.
The DRC floods mostly affected several villages near Lake Kivu. While recovery efforts are underway people are still digging through mud to find missing relatives, the U.K. broadcasting network adds.
The Congo floods started last Thursday evening, May 4, prompting rivers to overflow with flash floods sweeping majority of buildings in the villages of Bushushu and Nyamukubi, ABC News reported.
Kalehe civic leader Delphin Birimbi stated he understood that thousands of people are still missing and told The Associated Press that some doctors went to the affected areas to treat the injured.
However, communities were still pleading for more emergency assistance, as cited by the U.S. media outlet.
Local officials said that the initial death toll was 200 following the torrential rainfall.
More bodies were found on Sunday, May 7, wherein provincial administrator Thomas Bakenge reportedly confirmed the dead toll has reached 394 at that time.
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East Africa Heavy Rain
Prior to the DRC floods, heavy rain in East Africa since late April inundated many areas across the region, where Rwanda floods and landslides forced many residents in the southern, western, and northern provinces to be left homeless, NBC News reported.
The disaster destroyed not only homes but also roads and bridges, as well as medical facilities.
In recent years, similar extreme weather events in central and eastern Africa have also led to catastrophic consequences.
In particular, structures in mountainous areas and near bodies of water are vulnerable during torrential rain.
Fragile homes in rural areas are also susceptible to water erosion and rockfalls, based on previous incidents of the same nature.
Related Article: Unforgiving Floods and Landslides Kill 120 People in Kinshasa, DRC
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