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Flood victims denounce aid profiteering in eastern DRC

Girl walks past the ruins of houses swept away by a landslide in the village of Bushushu on the shores of Lake Kivu in Kalehe Territory, DRC on June 9, 2023   -  
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ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP or licensors

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Communities affected by last month's floods and landslides in eastern DRC have denounced the distribution of aid in the region.

Members of a group of survivors claim that the crisis management committee in charge of distributing government aid is profiteering from the crisis.

"Here, we found a lot of bodies here when the machine (the backhoe, editor’s note.) passed. There are at least 13 bodies that we found. There are also crates - because on the other side there were shops - we found empty crates, alcohol, money, clothes too, mattresses that were already damaged... but it was on the other side", said Crispin Chiringa, a Bushushu disaster survivor who lost several family members.

A few days after the disaster, the Congolese government announced aid for 200 affected families amounting to 2.5 million Congolese francs (around €1,000.00 per family, Ed. ) per household.

"They told us there was a lot of money, but they diverted it themselves. They only gave us 380,000 (Congolese francs - about 150€ - instead of the 2,500,000 - about €990 - announced by the government, Ed.). 
They told us that all the money had been distributed, but they embezzled it. I went to sign (the list of beneficiaries, Ed.), then they prevented me (from recovering the money, Ed.), they said that I had stolen this token (allowing to recover aid, Ed.)", denounced Namavu Luitire, a woman from Nyamukubi who lost her husband and child in the disaster.

The allegations by the victims are being investigated by a lawyer working on behalf of a member of parliament.

"We have information that there are even bags of rice, bags of flour, blankets and women’s clothing that have been discovered in Kalehe Centre, while the women of Nyamukubi and the women of Bushushu, who are direct victims of these floods, you saw, they spend the night on the ground, they don’t even have anything to eat", said lawyer Eric Dunia.

More than 2,500 people are still missing. Official figures claim that 443 people have lost their lives.

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