Floods in DRC kill hundreds and displace over 100,000

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  • Most dead are being buried in mass graves
  • Hundreds of homes, a market, two schools, a health center, a multipurpose hall and a warehouse have been destroyed
  • Humanitarian access is nearly impossible in some areas

KINSHASA (May 8, 2023) – With over 400 people dead, 4,393 missing and more than 100,000 displaced following flash floods and landslides in Kalehe, a territory in the South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, global humanitarian organization World Vision warns the death toll is likely to rise without immediate support.

“By this morning 351 bodies were recovered, and most are now being buried in mass graves,” says Jean Baptiste Mirindi, senior communications officer with World Vision in the DRC. “Last Thursday evening, the Nyamukubi and Chishova rivers overflowed their banks and washed away everything in their path. Homes, a market, two schools, a health center, a multipurpose hall and a warehouse were wiped out in one of the communities at the foot of the green hills of Kalehe.”

World Vision is warning that humanitarian access has been made almost impossible in some areas because key roads to the affected areas in the villages of Bushushu, Nyamukubi and Rambira have been made impassable by the rains, hampering early response. As a result, affected families are yet to be reached with much needed assistance.

“It is likely that this humanitarian disaster will get less attention than some others do. But these lives are just as important as any other[s],”said Mirindi. “We call on the international community to do everything they can to help us, and other NGOs, to access communities [where] lives have been devastated by these floods. We must do everything we can to avoid further life loss.”

The international aid agency is responding to an increasing number of natural disasters as extreme climate shocks are wreaking devastation for the world’s most vulnerable.

“We are witnessing a very worrying pattern [of] flooding and landslides here and in many other locations in DRC,” says Aline Napon, World Vision’s national director in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Those least responsible for [changing] climate are the ones suffering the most. Lives are being lost here, and the rest of the world cannot stand by and watch as regular floods, landslides and severe weather-related incidents kill people, including children, and wash away years of invested development effort.”

World Vision has dispatched a team to assess the immediate and anticipated impact of the current flooding in the DRC and warns that in addition to water, food, shelter, medicines and essential needs, the prevention of cholera is also a need that must be taken seriously.

“The humanitarian community, government, donors and keys stakeholders need to do more anticipatory programming to address these climate related challenges,” Napon urged. “The people of DRC are suffering … The global community has a responsibility to address this.”

Notes to editors:

Statistics were sourced from UNOCHA and the local coordination team in Kalehe.

About World Vision:

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org or follow on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.