Death toll from floods in DRC and Rwanda mounts

9 May 2023 by The Water Diplomat

Floods in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo have killed at least 400 people according to the governor of the South Kivu region where the floods occurred.  Heavy rain commenced in the areas on the 4th of May and continued on the 5th of May, swelling the Cibira/Cabondo and Nyamakubi rivers and triggering landslides which swept through the villages of villages of Bushushu and Nyamukubi. Half of Nyamukubi village is reportedly destroyed.

The Relief organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported that the disaster struck on market day in Bushushu and the population was therefore higher than it would have been on a normal day.  The UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported on the 7th of May that 270 people were confirmed dead and a further 300 were reported missing. In addition, some 3,000 households are currently without shelter, with 1,200 homes having been destroyed and 3,000 homes affected.  

The south Kivu area is already an area which has received many people who have been internally displaced by the conflict in the DRC, especially from north Kivu.

In parallel and related developments, at least 130 people died in severe flooding that also triggered landslides in northern and western Rwanda. More than 5,000 homes are reportedly destroyed in the area, and casualty numbers are expected to increase with the passage of time.

In April severe flooding took place in four provinces in Burundi following heavy rains from the 31st of March to the 1st of April, killing 14 people and causing landslides in neighbouring DRC and Rwanda.    

In both the DRC and Rwanda, landslides have affected roads into the disaster areas, making relief efforts more complex.