Nearly 300 people have been killed in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while many are still missing after entire villages were submerged and many homes and fields were destroyed by floods and heavy rains.
On Thursday evening, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was hit by floods that left more than 170 dead in the eastern province of South Kivu, two days after deadly rains hit neighboring Rwanda.
“We counted the horrific number. We have approximately 176 dead,” said the provincial governor, Teo Ngwabidji, after inspecting the site of the disaster. He pointed out that this toll “is still not final. We also have about 100 people missing.”
Villages in the Kalehe region, west of Lake Kivu, which forms the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, drowned when the lakes’ levels rose to a large extent, according to the region’s assistant governor, Archimede Karhipwa.
He added that the rains washed away hundreds of homes and destroyed fields, so that the water surprised the sellers and their customers in the markets. He pointed out that after the recent disasters, studies were conducted and people who reside along the lakes were asked to move from their places. He explained that these damages are partly caused by a natural process independent of human will, but they are also linked to “deforestation, which contributes to climate change.” He called on people of goodwill to grant urgent humanitarian aid, especially with regard to burying the bodies.
Last Wednesday, Rwanda witnessed floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains, killing at least 130 people, in one of the worst disasters the country has witnessed in recent years.
East Africa regularly witnesses floods during the rainy seasons. Climate experts expect it to increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change.
More than 120 people died in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, last December, due to floods and landslides caused by heavy rains.