Deadly floods and landslides hit Bukavu, DRC

terra modis satellite image of south kivu drc december 9 2023

Recent torrential rains in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, have triggered landslides, resulting in at least 15 fatalities and significant property damage.

The city of Bukavu, located in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the capital of South Kivu Province, has been struck by a devastating natural disaster. In the past few days, the region has experienced torrential rainfall, leading to landslides with catastrophic consequences. According to local sources, at least 15 people have tragically lost their lives due to these landslides​​​​​​.

The Bukavu commune of Ibanda, characterized by many makeshift houses, bore the brunt of this disaster. A local official, Jean Balek Mugabo, mayor of the commune, informed Reuters that the victims were all from this area. The houses, not built to withstand such extreme weather conditions, collapsed under the heavy rain. Mugabo also mentioned that the death toll might increase as several victims are currently hospitalized with serious injuries​​.

In a particularly heartbreaking incident, a family in the Ndedere District of the city suffered a devastating loss. Albert Migabo Nyagaza, the neighborhood chief, reported that a father, his five children, and two grandchildren were buried by a landslide that destroyed their house. This tragic event occurred around midnight, catching the victims off guard​​.

The situation in Bukavu is further complicated by the city’s history and demographics. Originally designed for approximately 100 000 residents by Belgian settlers, Bukavu now houses around two million inhabitants. However, the exact population is difficult to ascertain due to the lack of a census. This overcrowding, coupled with poor infrastructure, makes the city particularly vulnerable to natural disasters like floods.

A catastrophic flood hit the same province in May 2023, claiming the lives of over 400 people.

References:

1 Torrential rains kill at least 14 in city in east Congo – Reuters – December 11, 2023

2 Congo Landslide: 14 Killed As Torrential Rains Batter Bukavu City – India – December 11, 2023

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