from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – FLOODS and mudslides that have killed more than 400 people are adding to the dire humanitarian crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
More than 300 people are still unaccounted for while a further 205 people were seriously injured and around 3 000 families lost their homes after the disaster struck in Kalehe, South Kivu province.
An early estimate of the number of people affected and in need of food assistance is 50 000.
The region already sheltered 108 000 internally displaced people who fled conflict in North Kivu and the Hauts Plateaux locally.
Many have fallen victim to the flooding.
The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that food insecurity was already rife amongst the population of Kalehe.
“Those hosting the newly displaced are families now more than ever also at risk of hunger and in need of emergency intervention,” said a spokesperson.
The needs are expected to increase in the coming days.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) expressed sympathy following one of the deadliest natural disasters in the country’s recent history, triggered by torrential rains.
Elias Mpedi Magosi, SADC Executive Secretary, expressed solidarity with Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, DRC president and SADC Chairperson, and the people of DRC as they dealt with the aftermaths of the disaster.
With the increasing frequency and severity of the impacts of these disasters, including above normal rains induced by the La Nina, SADC reiterated its call for joint regional and global efforts to enhance preparedness and response efforts, as well as the building of resilience to enable the region’s economic sectors and communities to cope with, and respond to the impacts of disasters.
– CAJ News