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DRC: at least 15 dead in Bukavu following torrential rains

DRC: at least 15 dead in Bukavu following torrential rains
Residents gather after flooding on the Hululu River, which joins the Lubiriha River, near Beni, eastern Congo, May 21, 2020.   -  
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Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

At least 15 people died between Tuesday and Wednesday in Bukavu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, during heavy rains, we learned from local authorities and hospital sources.

The bad weather caused damage in different neighborhoods of the capital of South Kivu, whose population is estimated at around two million inhabitants, causing landslides, building collapses, and the overflowing of a river.

A member of the staff of the provincial hospital, on condition of anonymity, told AFP that they had "received 15 bodies" coming from "different corners of the city".

For his part, Joseph Mugisho Zihalirwa, spokesperson for Bukavu town hall, declared that at least "19 people died and five injured" in the commune (district) of Kadutu, including 11 members of the same family carried away by the flooded waters of the Kawa River.

In the commune of Ibanda, a wall of a house "fell on a church (...) killing five worshipers in the middle of prayer ", according to Pastor Albert Migabo Nyagaza, a local leader. He adds that three other people were swept away by the waters.

Reached by telephone, Mao Ishikitilo, the administrator of the territory of Mwenga, south of Bukavu, spoke of around twenty deaths due to the rains in his constituency, without giving further details.

Yvonne Mukombi, a resident of Kadutu in her forties, interviewed by AFP in one of the neighborhoods affected by the rains, laments that "several people are still under the rubble" after their homes collapsed. She asks for digging tools, to “continue the research”.

According to the national water company, rain damage damaged a pipe, leaving a large part of the city without water. On the night of December 10 to 11, at least 15 people lost their lives in landslides in two neighborhoods of Bukavu.

In this large eastern city, built on steep slopes and with anarchic urbanization, several dozen people have died since the start of the year in spectacular fires and landslides linked to intense rains.

On Tuesday, in Kananga, in the center of the country, at least 22 people lost their lives and more than 15 houses were swept away by landslides caused by rain.

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