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"DR Congo Floods: Kinshasa in Chaos as River Approaches Record High"
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EN FRANCAIS!

Floods have caused chaos in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with water flooding into homes and residents navigating submerged roads by canoe.

The River Congo, which flows through much of the country, has also flooded areas outside the capital. The vast and essential waterway has reached its highest level in six decades.

Officials report that over 300 people have died in floods over the past few months.

Residents in the impoverished megacity of Kinshasa said on Thursday how “schools, hospitals, and churches” have been washed away. “I had lived here with my relatives… I have lost everything,” said Jonas Mungindami.

Similarly, Denise Tuzola said her house is now “full of water.” “There is no church here anymore, and there is no way for the children to go to school,” she added.

Kinshasa is home to several small rivers and streams, which often serve as open sewers. Many of these have now overflowed.

On one flooded street, a man waded through thigh-level water, pulling a canoe full of passengers behind him. Trucks cautiously drove through the same waters, while dozens of discarded bottles floated on the surface.

The RVF, the agency overseeing DR Congo’s waterways, issued a warning in late December, stating that heavy rains would cause “exceptional flooding” around the Kinshasa area.

By that time, provinces such as Mongala and Ituri had already experienced serious flooding.

In Kinshasa, flooding is common, but this year, the River Congo has risen to just below 6.26 meters, the level reached during record flooding in 1961.

Further upstream, in the city of Kisangani, the mayor reported that over 200 houses have been submerged.

The Congo River has also caused turmoil in Congo-Brazzaville, a neighboring nation. Flooding there has affected more than 336,000 people and 34 health facilities, according to the World Health Organization.

Many factors contribute to flooding, but a warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.

Just over a year ago, floods in Kinshasa claimed the lives of more than 120 people.

Piers Potter

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