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DR Congo declares hydrological and ecological catastrophe

DR Congo declares hydrological and ecological catastrophe

Record flooding of the Congo River has resulted in a catastrophic situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), affecting 15 provinces, leading to over 300 deaths, and impacting at least 304 000 families.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently facing one of its most severe natural disasters in recent history. Exceptional rainfall has caused the Congo River to rise to a record 6.26 m (20.54 feet), surpassing levels last seen in 1961. This has led to widespread flooding across 15 of the country’s 26 provinces, affecting at least 304 000 families and resulting in around 300 fatalities.

In Kinshasa province, streets have transformed into rivers, with residents resorting to boats for evacuation. The scale of the flooding is unprecedented, with extensive damage reported across various districts. Notably, at least 600 000 individuals have been impacted in the Equateur province alone.

The extent of damage includes 43 750 houses, 1 325 schools, 269 health centers, 41 public markets, and 85 roads. These figures are expected to rise as assessments continue. The Congolese government has declared the situation a hydrological and ecological catastrophe.

YouTube video
YouTube video

Humanitarian organizations, both local and international, are collaborating with the Congolese authorities to conduct assessments and provide aid. The catastrophe adds to the already dire humanitarian situation in Eastern DRC, where over 6.5 million people are displaced due to conflict.

The neighboring Congo Republic is also facing similar challenges. The capital, Brazzaville, located across the river, has reported at least 17 deaths due to flooding in eight departments, affecting over 320 000 people.

References:

1 Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – Record flooding – DG ECHO – January 16, 2024

2 Congo River peaks at 60-year record, causing massive casualties in DRC and Congo Republic – The Watchers – January 12, 2024

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