Bukavu, DR Congo – In a devastating turn of events, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faced further tragedy as heavy downpours on Tuesday night triggered floods and landslides, claiming the lives of at least 40 more people, according to local authorities.
Residents in affected areas are grappling with the aftermath, digging through mud to locate and recover bodies.
Bukavu, a city in eastern DR Congo, witnessed the impact of the disaster, with onlookers gathering as a group of men worked to extract a car from the mud to retrieve a woman's body.
At least 20 people lost their lives in Bukavu, while an additional 20 fatalities were reported in the village of Burinyi, located 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Bukavu, according to officials.
Yvonne Mukupi, a resident of Bukavu, recounted the harrowing experience of her neighbour being swept away by floodwaters. “We have managed to recover three bodies under the trees, but others have not been found yet,” she said.
The vulnerability of communities to extreme rainfall in the region is exacerbated by poor urban planning and weak infrastructure.
The United Nations climate experts highlight that Africa is witnessing more intense and frequent rainfall due to rising temperatures.
Emmanuel Majivuno Kalimba, an official in Bukavu, explained the challenges faced during such weather events.
“When rain falls, the main waterway gets clogged sometimes because of the waste, so it gets flooded and it affects the houses,” he stated. Residents are now engaged in salvaging belongings from their damaged homes.
This recent disaster follows closely on the heels of another tragedy in Kasai-Central province, where at least 22 people lost their lives on Tuesday due to a landslide that swallowed houses, churches, and roads.