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Thousands are homeless following the worst floods in the DRC in sixty years

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Cyprien Seka, a father of three, watched his infant slumber on the floor of a packed tent at a makeshift camp for flood victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo, wondering when it would be safe to return home.
Torrential rains pushed the Congo River to its highest level in over 60 years in late December, forcing over 500,000 people to evacuate the rising waters.
“It’s been almost a month since we left our homes due to flooding… We are suffering,” Seka said at a camp set up on the grounds of a Catholic church on the outskirts of Kinshasa.

Seka’s family, like many others, lost practically everything they owned in the hurry to flee. With some parts still under water, some 2,400 people have been squeezed inside this enclosure for weeks.
Due to a shortage of room in shared tents, many people are forced to sleep outside on the ground.
“The night here is horrible,” said Pansel Moto Pamba, a 55-year-old grandma. “There are many people spread out, crowded… it’s suffocating, you cannot breathe,” she added, pointing to the shred of mat on which she sleeps.

According to Congolese authorities and medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières, 16 of Congo’s 26 provinces are dealing with the aftermath of the floods, which killed at least 221 people, damaged tens of thousands of homes, and put already vulnerable communities at risk of malaria and typhoid.

According to hydrologist Raphaël Tshimanga of the University of Kinshasa, the severity of the catastrophe highlights the urgent need for enhanced flood control and response, especially in the capital area.

“The fear is enormous for Kinshasa, which receives the cumulative flow of the entire Congo basin,” he added, noting that high levels of deforestation increased the impact of heavy rains.
Congo has the world’s second-highest rate of tree cover loss in 2022, trailing only Brazil, according to Global Forest Watch. This increases flood danger since a forest’s canopy and roots retain precipitation and reduce flows into rivers, according to Tshimanga.
More floods might endanger the 83 million people who live along a major river in the Congo basin, which runs through central Africa.
“What we’ve seen is likely to get worse … as far as analyses are concerned we’ve entered a wet period, when we’re likely to see more of these rare events,” stated Tshimanga.

 

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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