Widespread floods are affecting the Republic of Congo since October 2019, wreaking havoc and forcing thousands to sleep outside. On Tuesday, December 17, the government made an urgent appeal to the international community to help provide an efficient response to the humanitarian situation.
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 eight of the twelve departments in the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville).
The said departments are Likouala, Cuvette, Plateaux, Sengha, Kouilou, Niari, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.
In Likouala, Cuvette, and Plateaux, at least 170 000 have been afflicted.
In November 2019, the government declared a state of natural disaster and humanitarian emergency in the three departments. The burst of Ubangi and Congo rivers were said to be behind the flooding. Many of the villages along the river were entirely submerged.
Infrastructures sustained damages that impeded access to food, water, education, and health care.
Homes, schools and health centers in affected areas can only be accessible by boat.
"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)," UN OCHA said.
"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.)."
The organization continued, "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."
President Denis Sassou Nguesso said he made an urgent appeal to the international community to help with the crisis in his annual state-of-the-nation speech to parliament.
"We released 1 million Euro in humanitarian aid to support the affected communities with shelter, blankets, food, water and other basic necessities," the EU Humanitarian Aid posted on their social media account.
Over the past several weeks, heavy rainfall triggered floods in #DRCongo and #CongoBrazzaville, causing loss of lives and damage.— EU Humanitarian Aid (@eu_echo) December 18, 2019
We released €1 million in humanitarian aid to support the affected communities with shelter, blankets, food, water & other basic necessities. pic.twitter.com/GuVpnxV9uF
Featured image credit: @eu_echo/Twitter