Over 13,000 people were forced from their homes after storms and floods caused damage in parts of Maniema Province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) in late January.
According to reports from the local office of the humanitarian agency Caritas, 13,325 people were left homeless after torrential rain, strong winds and lightning strikes in Kindu and surrounding areas on 21 January 2022. A total of 2,267 houses were affected, including 403 completely destroyed. According to Caritas, the flooding was worsened by blocked and inadequate drainage systems, plus the building of makeshift or poorly constructed homes on flood plains.
Although there was no confirmation of fatalities or injuries, Caritas said 6 people were reported missing and 4 others were struck by lightning.
Heavy rainfall has affected other areas of eastern DR Congo over the last few weeks. Radio Okapi (the UN radio station in the Democratic Republic of Congo) reported 320 families were displaced after heavy rain and floods damaged homes in Salamabila in Maniema Province on 09 January 2022.
Radio Okapi also reported damage to buildings in Masisi caused by heavy rain around 14 January. The report said schools were in danger of collapse.
More recently, local media reported heavy rainfall and floods in Kalima in Maniema Province on 01 February 2022. Damage to buildings has left people homeless. The destruction of the the bridge means communities are isolated.
Unconfirmed reports also suggest severe flooding has caused damage in Kiliba in the Ruzizi River basin in South Kivu province after heavy rain 01 February, forcing hundreds of people from their homes.
Severe flooding affected South Kivu in August last year when at least 1 person died after flash floods ripped through the city of Bukavu, capital of the province.
Neighbouring countries of Uganda and Rwanda have also seen severe weather during this period.
Floods and mudslides caused death and destruction in parts of Kisoro District in the Western Region of Uganda after heavy rainfall from 24 January 2022, where at least 9 people died and dozens of buildings were damaged or destroyed.
Rwanda’s Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management reported at least 15 people have died and 37 were injured during the period 01 to 25 January 2022 as a result of natural disasters including floods, landslides, lightning and storms. Around 130 houses were damaged, mostly by floods and heavy rain. The most affected districts were Muhanga, Huye, Gisagara, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Rusizi and Rubavu.
Rwanda Meteorology Agency warned that heavy rainfall was expected over southwestern parts of the country from late January to February 2022.