Floods and landslides that claimed more than 400 in lives in Democratic Republic of Congo also have blocked roads, cutting off some of the most affected villages and complicating recovery efforts.
“These people need help now,” said Peter Musoko, country representative for the World Food Program, who visited the Kalehe region on Wednesday. Musoko reported that the only road between Bushushu and Nyamukubi, among the hardest hit communities, was simply gone.
Congolese legislator Juvénal Munobo said National Road 2, which runs between Goma and Bukavu, also was affected by overflowing water and landslides. The MP urged immediate repairs on the road, which runs right through Kalehe.
The latest numbers from the Provincial Health Division (DPS) put the death toll at 422, with more than 5,000 people still missing. Humanitarian aid workers with UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, estimated that 20,000 people were affected by last week’s disastrous rains, about half of them children. At least 1,200 homes were destroyed.
“The situation across various locations of the territory of Kalehe is catastrophic following the devastating floods and landslides that hit this area of South Kivu province,” said Ulrich Crepin Namfeibona, emergency coordinator with the Doctors Without Borders organization. “The catastrophe hit overnight, and, as Thursday was market day, the population in Bushushu was twice as large as usual.”
The South Kivu region is home to a number of displaced people who fled the fighting in adjacent North Kivu, the agencies said, with the threat of cholera outbreaks among the top concerns.
Image: Juvénal Munobo via Delphin Birimbi/Kalehe Civil Society