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More than 200 people have died in Congo floods, officials say

The death toll from floods and landslides in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo rose to 203 as more bodies were recovered, an administration official said on Saturday.

The provisional death toll announced late Friday by the provincial governor is at least 176 dead.

“Here in Busushu, 203 bodies have already been removed from the rubble,” said Thomas Bakenga, administrator of Kalehe region, where the affected villages are located.

APTOPIX Congo Flood

Relatives gather to identify bodies in Nyamukubi village, South Kivu province, Congo, Saturday, May 6, 2023.

By Moses Sawasawa via AP

He told local media that it was not possible to assess the full extent of human casualties and material damage.

Heavy rains overflowed rivers in the Kalehe region of South Kivu province on Thursday, causing landslides around the villages of Bushushu and Nyamukubi.

Bakenga added, the hill also gave way to Nyamkubi, where the weekly market was held on Thursdays.

The rivers in the region burst their banks due to heavy rains, inundating several villages, washing away many houses and destroying fields.

Congolese doctor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege, whose clinic is in South Kivu’s capital Bukavu, said on Saturday he had sent a team of surgeons, anesthetists and technicians to the area “to provide emergency medical assistance to the population”.

Congo floods

People walk next to a house destroyed by floods in Nyamukubi village in Congo’s South Kivu province.

By Moses Sawasawa via AP

The disaster comes two days after floods in neighboring Rwanda killed at least 131 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday expressed his condolences to the victims of “catastrophic floods” in Rwanda and DR Congo.

“This is another example of accelerating climate change and its disastrous effects on countries that have done nothing to contribute to global warming,” he said during a visit to Burundi.

Experts say extreme weather events are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity due to climate change.

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