DR Congo: Flash Floods Leave Nearly 200 Dead

Image copyright: nytimes

The Facts

  • At least 176 people lost their lives after heavy rains caused flash floods and landslides in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) South Kivu province, governor Théo Ngwabidje Kasi said on Friday.

  • Torrential rains in South Kivu, which began on Thursday evening, caused two rivers to overflow, destroying scores of homes, schools, and hospitals in the village of Nyamukubi. The Red Cross is still looking for the victims trapped beneath thick layers of mud and under the buildings' debris.

The Spin

Narrative A

Heavy downpours, flooding, and landslides during rainy seasons are common in central Africa. However, extreme weather events in the second-most populous continent are happening with increased frequency and intensity due to climate change and deforestation. Unfortunately, the DRC has failed to learn from previous disasters by implementing proper infrastructure, which means these catastrophes continue to have disastrous consequences.

Narrative B

The DRC is riddled not only with corruption and conflict — the price of which has been human suffering on an unimaginable scale — but is also dealing with economic calamity. While disaster preparedness seems like an obvious solution to mitigating the effects of these climate events, the reality is that the country lacks the means to implement such measures. Only a robust, strong government could make one of the five poorest countries in the world well-prepared and well-resourced to deal with natural disasters.

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