The death toll from flooding in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo crept higher on Tuesday as aid workers found more bodies among the muddy devastation and as wounded residents succumbed to their injuries in an underequipped local clinic.
The floods, in a remote, mountainous area of South Kivu province, ripped through the riverside villages of Nyamukubi and Bushushu five days ago, razing houses, destroying crops and killing more than 400 people, the deadliest natural disaster in Congo’s recent history.
They have highlighted the vulnerability of people to climate change in many parts of Africa where poor urban planning and weak infrastructure means communities often cannot withstand increasing bouts of extreme weather.
The homeless are packed into the few public buildings left intact, with poor sanitation.
Aid efforts have been hobbled by a lack of access and resources. The Red Cross believes that over 8000 people are need assistance.
More than 5,500 people are still unaccounted for, local administrator Thomas Bakenga Zirimwabagabo said.
Government officials brought blankets, food and a handful of coffins to Nyamukubi on Tuesday. They donated money to a local clinic where three people died on Tuesday, and gave around $1,100 each to 200 affected families.