More than 100 killed by floods and landslides in Congo’s Kinshasa


More than 100 people have been killed in floods and landslides after torrential rain pummeled Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said.

Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani Mbanda told Reuters that his ministry had counted 141 dead but that the number needed to be cross-checked with other departments. Reuters also cited a government document that it said reported at least 120 victims.

President Félix Tshisekedi, who is in Washington attending the U.S.-Africa Summit, declared three days of national mourning and said he would cut short his trip to the United States and leave after meeting with President Biden on Thursday.

In a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the summit, Tshisekedi blamed the heavy rains and infrastructure damage on climate change, Agence France-Presse reported.

“The DRC is under pressure, but unfortunately it’s not sufficiently heard or supported,” he said. “Support must come from countries that pollute and unfortunately trigger the harmful consequences in our countries that lack the means to protect themselves.”

The country’s capital, Kinshasa, is home to more than 15 million people. It is one of Africa’s few full-blown megacities. But this rapid urbanization has increased the vulnerability of the city and its outskirts to flash floods.

The floods collapsed a part of the RN1 road that links Kinshasa to Matadi, the country’s main seaport. The African Development Bank described RN1 as “the backbone and main structural artery of DRC’s road transport system.”

Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, who was on the ground to assess the damage, said in a statement that the government would work urgently to repair the road, first allowing smaller vehicles and carts to pass.

“Then we will do a bigger job,” he said.

But, he added, “we came to assess the damage and the primary damage we see is human.”

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