February 29, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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DRC floods: digging through the mud to find relatives

DRC floods: digging through the mud to find relatives

  • Written by Will Ross
  • Africa Editor, BBC World Service

photo caption,

The villages of Boshocho and Nyamukube were inundated by flood waters

Nearly 400 bodies have been recovered following floods and landslides that hit two villages in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last week.

Authorities earlier said 200 people died after torrential rains on Thursday.

In several villages near the shore of Lake Kivu, people were digging through the mud with their hands, desperately searching for their missing relatives.

Congolese Red Cross volunteers do not have body bags.

They had to pile up the bodies, wrapped in blankets, in the villages of Boshocho and Nyamukube, in South Kivu province.

photo caption,

Communities are trying to find bodies among the mud and rubble

It has now been four days since the floods and the death toll continues to rise, now at least 394 dead. Monday is a national day of mourning.

One distraught mother in Nyamukobe said her husband survived and is in hospital, but all her children are gone.

“It’s like the end of the world,” 27-year-old Gentile Ndagijimana, who also lost her parents and two sisters, told AFP.

The houses were swept away from planks with corrugated iron roofs.

In the village of Bochocho, half of the buildings still standing were buried in mud.

Some areas have been almost completely wiped out, according to a spokesperson for the medical charity Doctors Without Borders.

“The eastern part of Congo is really an area facing multiple crises,” Barbero added, with thousands of people fleeing conflict in North Kivu meaning aid is already limited.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the floods were another example of accelerating climate change.