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MSF warns of mounting cholera cases in flood-hit Kinshasa

Floods and mudslides in the Democratic Republic of Congo's chaotic capital Kinshasa have caused cholera cases to rise over five-fold to more than 100 a week, medical charity MSF said Tuesday.

“In past weeks we registered about 20 cases a week on average. At present, we have more than 100 each week,” said Jean Liyolongo from Medecins sans Frontieres.

He said the spurt began in the first week of January in Africa’s third largest city which is home to about 10 million people. 

Floods and landslips last week claimed 48 lives in Kinshasa as flimsy homes were flattened.

Liyolongo said a cholera outbreak threatened 23 of the sprawling country’s 26 provinces, with 50,000 cases and around 1,000 deaths reported since 2017. 

He said it was the worst cholera epidemic in the country since 1994.

“The floods have caused the latrines to overflow, the sanitation system is not working in some quarters as is waste management. And above all, the city is now criss-crossed with streams,” he said.

Three-quarters of homes in Kinshasa are slums which have no access to sanitation or electricity, Corneille Kanene, former head of UN-Habitat, said last year. DM

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