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Washed off land and fallen trees in Kinshasa
Many of the fatalities occurred in hillside areas of the capital Image: REUTERS
CatastropheDemocratic Republic of Congo

DR Congo: Floods devastate Kinshasa, causing landslides

December 14, 2022

Major roads in the city of some 15 million people have been submerged in muddy waters. The country's president blamed the catastrophe on climate change.


Hit by heavy rains, the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, Kinshasa, is facing the worst floods in years. At least 100 people have been reported dead on Tuesday, according to state television.

More deaths have been reported in hillside areas where heavy downpour led to landslides.

How are the floods impacting Kinshasa?

Key supply routes have been shut because of clogged water. Major roads including the N1 highway that connects Kinshasa to the chief sea port of Matadi have been submerged in muddy waters. In a statement the prime minister's office said that the N1 could be closed for 3-4 days.

Small vehicles could start using the highway within the next day, but it could take "three or four days" for trucks, Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde said.

A major landslide occurred in the hilly district of Mont-Ngafula which blocked the N1 highway. Lukonde said that around 20 people died there when "homes were swept away."

Home to some 15 million people, Kinshasa is located on the Congo River and is one of the megacities in Africa. Many houses are built on flood-prone slopes. The city faces issues of poorly regulated rapid urbanization which makes it more prone to flash floods.

Congo leader blames climate change

At a US-Africa summit held in Washington, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday said that climate change is the cause behind the deadly floods in Kinshasa.

Antony Blinken und Felix Tshisekedi
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi discussed the climate crisis amid the flooding in KinshasaImage: Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP/picture alliance

"The DRC is under pressure but unfortunately, it's not sufficiently heard or supported," he told Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"Support must come from countries that pollute and unfortunately trigger the harmful consequences in our countries that lack the means to protect themselves," he added.

Offering his condolences, Blinken said the flooding was "further evidence of the challenges we are facing with climate and something we need to work on together."

mf/wd (AFP, Reuters)

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