Congo flooding

At least 72 dead bodies recovered in flooded east Congo village

At least 72 dead bodies recovered in flooded east Congo village
An aerial photo taken with a drone shows North Kivu, in the vicinity of Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 27 November 2020. EPA-EFE/Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

BUSHUSHU, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 5 (Reuters) - Humanitarian workers have recovered at least 72 bodies from a village in east Democratic Republic of Congo hit by flooding on Thursday, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

Torrential rain that fell in Congo’s South Kivu province and caused a river to overflow led to significant damage and loss of life in the villages of Bushushu and Nyamukubi, the provincial government said in a statement on Thursday without providing a death toll.

A Reuters reporter in Bushushu saw humanitarian workers recovering bodies from the debris on Friday and counted at least 72 bodies, many of whom were women and children.

The weather had cleared, revealing flattened houses and corrugated iron roofs jutting out from beneath thick layers of mud, photos showed.

Haggard-looking survivors stood outside a wooden shed in which Red Cross workers in blue scrubs piled bodies on top of each other. Many had lost clothing and were covered in dirt.

Local administrator Thomas Bakenga said on Thursday night that at least 17 people had been killed in the floods and that around 40 people were missing.

Floods and landslides are not an uncommon occurrence in South Kivu province.

The last incident of a similar scale occurred in October 2014, when a bout of heavy rainfall destroyed over 700 homes. More than 130 people were reported missing at the time, according to the United Nations.

By Crispin Kyala

(Reporting by Crispin Kyala; Additional reporting by Sonia Rolley; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Alexander Winning, Bhargav Acharya and Susan Fenton)


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