Mwenga, South Kivu – In a devastating incident on Sunday, at least four lives have been lost, and another 20 individuals are feared missing after a river engulfed a building in the rural and mining territory of Mwenga in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).
The calamity unfolded as heavy rains pounded the region, triggering a landslide that swept away a makeshift restaurant. Local residents sought refuge from the downpour under a hangar situated on the riverbanks, unaware of the imminent danger posed by the rising waters.
According to Alexandre Ngandu, the deputy mayor of Kamituga, a major town in eastern South Kivu, “The heavy rains triggered a landslide.” The aftermath of the disaster revealed the harsh reality, with four confirmed fatalities and concerns mounting for the safety of 20 individuals still unaccounted for.
The torrential rains not only claimed lives but also wreaked havoc on the surrounding properties, causing substantial damage. Rescue efforts are underway to locate the missing individuals and provide assistance to those affected by the tragedy.
Climate experts highlight that such extreme weather events are occurring with increased frequency and intensity, attributing these changes to the overarching impact of climate change. The vulnerability of regions like South Kivu to these climatic shifts underscores the pressing need for both local and global efforts to address the consequences of environmental transformations.
This incident echoes a previous catastrophe in May, when the Kalehe territory of South Kivu province witnessed a devastating flood that claimed the lives of at least 438 people. Heavy rains were once again the culprit, leading to widespread flooding and leaving local authorities estimating that over 5,000 people were missing.
As communities in Mwenga grapple with the aftermath of this latest disaster, calls for enhanced preparedness, climate resilience, and proactive measures to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events become ever more urgent. The international community is urged to join hands in addressing the broader challenges posed by climate change, aiming to protect vulnerable regions and populations from the escalating risks they face.