Democratic Republic of Congo – Floods Leave at Least 20 Dead in Kinshasa

Floods in several areas of Democratic Republic of Congo, including the capital Kinshasa, have left at least 20 people dead since late November.

Kinshasa

BBC and Reuters are both reporting that severe flooding in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital has left dozens dead since late November.

Emmanuel Akweti, the local minister for the capital’s inner city, told the BBC that around 20 people have died since 29 November.

Reuters report that at least 31 people have died in Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa in the last three weeks in the worst flooding in years, the provincial interior minister said on Tuesday, warning conditions could get even worse.

Many of the deaths have occurred in communities living along or close the Congo River and its tributary, the Ndjili.

Local media, including Radio Okapi, have reported that the flooding worsened after a weekend of heavy rain which prompted rivers to overflow. Many have been forced from their homes. Those displaced are currently living along roadsides in the city, or have found refuge in churches, schools or other public buildings.

The floods have left many without drinking water after the Regideso water treatment plant was affected. Regideso said that the shortage of drinking water will affect 17 districts of eastern and central Kinshasa.

The rain is still falling and the flood situation could worsen. WMO report that 72 mm of rain was recorded in Kinshasa in a 24 hour period between 08 and 09 December 2015.

Équateur province

The station reports that thousands have been left homeless after the River Congo overflowed in parts of Équateur province. Bumba in Mongala District is thought to have been one of the worst hit areas, where local Red Cross officials say almost 400 houses have been destroyed. Floods have blocked importation supply routes in particular in south east parts of Équateur province. Radio Okapi say that, according to their sources, these floods are the strongest seen in the Central Basin since 1997.

Bas-Congo Province

Radio Okapi also report that a young child was killed and around 75 left homeless when flooding caused severe damage to houses in Lufu-Toto, Bas-Congo Province. Roads and bridges have also been damaged by floods in the province.

Rainfall

Comprehensive rainfall records for the country are unavailable.

Emmanuel Akweti told Reuters that precipitation levels this rainy season (October to April) were unusually high, with Kinshasa registering 450 mm (18 inches) of rainfall, or nearly a third of its annual average, between 17 November to 06 December alone.

The BBC says that satellite images from the area suggest that as much a month’s worth of rain may have fallen in the past week.

WMO report that, during a 24 hour period between 06 and 07 December 2015, 136.9 mm of rain fell in Bukavu in South Kivu province in the east of the country.

On 29 November 2015, Kinshasa recorded 132 mm of rain in 24 hours, and 68 mm the day before.

Previous Floods in Democratic Republic of Congo

At least 30 people died in floods in Kalehe Territory in South Kivu province after 3 days of heavy rain in late October 2014.

14 people died in March this year after flooding in Fizi, South Kivu province.