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Deadly landslides and floods in DRC

Over 400 people have been confirmed dead after torrential rain caused four rivers in DRC to burst their banks.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 09 May 2023

A building lies destroyed by the flooding and landslides in Democratic Republic of Congo after torrential rain caused four rivers to burst their banks.

Landslides and flooding in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have destroyed homes, churches, schools and other infrastructure. Credit: Nehemie Babikana/Tearfund

Every Thursday in South Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is market day. On the evening of 4 May 2023, around 5.30 pm, as on most other Thursdays in the year, many people there were going about their business – buying and selling goods, shopping for their families needs, getting ready for the week ahead – when torrential rains caused four rivers in the region to burst their banks.

As the Chibira, Lukungula, Kabushungu and Nakajabwe rivers overflowed, they caused floods and landslides that have left more than 400 people confirmed dead and over a thousand still missing.

Homes, churches, schools, markets, bridges and other infrastructure have been washed away. 

Dire need for immediate response

In some areas, it’s estimated that up to 80 per cent of the population has been affected.

The markets that provide food supplies no longer exist. Drinking water sources and hygiene facilities, such as latrines, have been destroyed. The main national road to access many of the most affected areas has been cut off.

Recovery of bodies has been extremely difficult, and in one area over a hundred bodies remained floating on the river by Monday.

There are currently no sites set up to provide shelter or emergency provision of food and water for the thousands of people who have been displaced or affected.

‘The situation is terrible,’ says Hebdavi Kyeya, Tearfund’s Country Director for Tearfund in DRC.

Buildings in Democratic Republic of Congo submerged in mud after floods and landslides destroyed villages and caused hundreds of deaths.

More than 400 people have been confirmed dead in DRC after torrential rains caused rivers to burst their banks. Over 1,100 are still missing. Credit: Nehemie Babikana/Tearfund

Urgent needs

Humanitarian agencies, like Tearfund, are looking at ways to respond as the need is great.

The rainy season continues and the risk of further flooding persists. People who have been displaced need access to things like shelter, food, clean water, hygiene facilities, clothing  and counselling support after the devastating loss and trauma that many have witnessed and experienced in the last few days.

The local church is already helping to bring comfort to people by sharing messages of comfort and consolation and by listening to and praying with people. They are also helping by organising fundraising for immediate support for those who have been worst affected.

ITV News covered the situation and spoke to Tearfund's Country Director, Hebdavi Kyeya.


Climate crisis

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered his condolences to the victims of the ‘catastrophic floods’ and said: ‘This is yet another illustration of accelerating climate change and its disastrous impact on countries that have done nothing to contribute to global warming.’

You can help. Please join us in prayer.

Pray for people in DRC after flooding and landslides

    • Pray for comfort and peace for those who have lost their families and their livelihoods.
    • Pray for people affected to access immediate support and assistance, especially as they are very exposed to diseases and hunger after already losing everything.
    • Pray for Tearfund’s local teams as we find ways to respond, and for all those people intervening in the area (government, civil society, doctors, and NGOs).

Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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