The UN says thousands of people are forced to sleep outside and are without clean drinking water after ongoing floods damaged homes and water points in the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville).
According to a recent report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), flooding that began in OCtober this year has now affected 8 of the 12 departments in the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville).
The departments affected are Likouala, Cuvette, Plateaux, Sengha, Kouilou, Niari, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.
At least 170,000 people have now been affected by floods in Likouala, Cuvette and Plateaux departments alone. The government declared a state of natural disaster and humanitarian emergency in the 3 departments on 19 November 2019.
Flooding was caused by the overflow of the Oubangui and Congo rivers. Hundreds of villages along the river have been affected, many of which are completely submerged. Flooding has damaged infrastructure and impeded access to food, water, education and health care. Homes, schools and health centres in affected areas are flooded and only accessible by boat.
UN OCHA said “most water points and sanitation facilities are no longer functioning. Affected communities do not have access to safe drinking water, and hygiene and sanitation products are scarce, exacerbating the risks of contamination and epidemics caused by water and mosquitoes (typhoid, cholera, malaria).
“The floods destroyed or damaged many houses in affected areas and most families sleep outside. These people need emergency shelter, insulation and essential non-food items (jerry cans, treated mosquito nets, mats, etc.).
“Significant crop and livestock losses have also been reported. Half of the crop areas are flooded, and unharvested production destroyed, including cassava fields, a staple food. The next harvest will not take place until the last quarter of 2020. Losses are also significant in the breeding and fishing sectors. Food reserves are already quickly running out.”
The UN recently reported that flooding in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo has affected around 600,000 people. Along Congo Brazzaville’s northern border, parts of Central African Republic have also been affected during the same period.