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Heavy rain and floods claim 41 lives, Democratic Republic of Congo

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At least 41 people have died after heavy rains pounded the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, Kinshasa on Tuesday, November 26, 2019. The severe weather sparked floods and mudslides that spread through three districts.

"The loss, in terms of property and lives, is really huge," said city vice-governor Neron Mbungu. According to him, among the fatalities was a child who got electrocuted.

"In the commune of Lemba, we saw erosion, overflows of water, floods, several families are outside. We saw more than 10 bodies in the Mbanza Lemba and Livulu neighborhoods," Mbungu added.

A bridge connecting Lemba and Ngaba districts collapsed, while another one in Kisenso was ruined. Several roads leading to the city were cut off. According to AFP news agency, there was also a massive hole about 10 m (30 feet) deep and 20 m (40 feet) across a road that had been swept away. Landslides also cut off the University of Kinshasa.

Resident Andre Mwamba, whose house had partially collapsed on University Avenue, said the intense downpour began at 01:00 UTC and lasted for about four hours.

"We started moving things out of the house at around six and then the house started sliding. The neighbors agreed to let us stay with them while we look for another place," Mwamba said.

Mbungu assured that other injured victims had been taken to medical centers for treatment. 

Kinshasa is home to a population of roughly 12 million. "If the housing units were decent, we would not have experienced disasters like this," said Parliament member Daniel Mbau after visiting Lemba.

In January 2018, 50 people died in landslides and floods in just one night of heavy rain. According to Roger-Nestor Lubiku, former head of the Geographical Institute of Congo (IGC), fatalities related to severe weather is linked to "overpopulation and building on land which is vulnerable to flooding."

Featured image credit: euronews/YouTube

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