DR Congo floods kill more than 120 in Kinshasa

Heavy rains caused flooding and landslides in Kinshasa

More than 120 people have been killed following the worst flooding in years in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa, according to authorities.

Major downtown roads were submerged as heavy rain continued for hours and several homes collapsed.

Many of those who died were in hillside areas that suffered landslides on Tuesday.

The government announced a three-day period of national mourning.

Whole neighborhoods were inundated with muddy water, and homes and roads were destroyed by sinkholes, including the N1 highway that connects the capital to the country’s main port, Matadi.

Kenga Mwamba told BBC News Swahili his house had collapsed, trapping his family inside.

“There was no way to enter my house. I was only able to save one child. I saw my wife’s body floating in the house. I saw my three other children under the rubble, they were already dead. the bodies after the rain has stopped.”

An AFP journalist saw the bodies of nine members of the same family killed when their house collapsed.

“We’ve never seen a flood here on this scale,” said Blanchard Mvubu, who lives in one of the hardest-hit areas.

“I was sleeping and I could smell water in the house. It’s a disaster – we lost all our belongings in the house, nothing could be saved.”

Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde led a government delegation to neighborhoods in Kinshasa to assess the damage on Tuesday.

He said authorities are still looking for other bodies.

Earlier on Tuesday, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo joined the United States in blaming climate change for major flooding.

“The DRC is under pressure but unfortunately it is not heard or supported enough,” President Felix Tshisekedi told Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a US-Africa summit in Washington.

The floods are an example of “what we have been lamenting for some time”, he said, adding that the countries responsible for the pollution should do more to help those who are suffering.

His spokesperson said the president may cut short his trip to the United States due to the disaster.

Kinshasa is located on the Congo River and has seen a huge influx of people in recent years, with 15 million people now living there.

Many dwellings are slums built on flood-prone slopes, and the city suffers from inadequate drainage and sanitation.

“One of the main reasons why this is happening is poor housing and poor planning,” Longombo Dieudonné of the Red Cross relief team told the BBC.

“When it rains, there is no way for the water to flow because people have blocked the drainage ways with their houses, and the water will find any way to move.”

BBC weather presenter Stav Danaos said: “Although information from the region is limited due to the lack of weather stations, we believe that more than 6 inches / 150 mm of rain fell around the capital on Monday. evening / early Tuesday.

“It is also difficult to be certain of the forecast for the next few days, but there is a risk of additional showers and thunderstorms, which may last until the weekend, but not as intense as we are. [have] déjà vu.”

In November 2019, around 40 people in Kinshasa died in floods and landslides.

Floods in DR Congo

This road has been cut in two

Wreck caused by floods in DR Congo

Many houses are built on flood-prone slopes

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