Corpses pile up after nearly 200 killed in Congo floods

Kinshasa, May 6 (BNA): At least 176 people have died in flash floods in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a provincial governor said Friday, as torrential rains destroyed buildings and forced aid workers to collect mud-covered bodies in piles.

According to Reuters, rainfall in Kalehe district of South Kivu province caused rivers to overflow on Thursday, flooding the villages of Boshoshu and Nyamukube.

Theo Ngwabidji Kasi, the governor of South Kivu, put the death toll at 176, and said others were still missing. Local civil society member Casul Martin said 227 bodies had been found.

“People are sleeping in the open, schools and hospitals have been swept away,” Martin said.

On Friday, hawk-like survivors stood in front of a wooden shed in which Red Cross workers in blue overalls stacked their corpses on top of each other. Many lost their clothes and were covered in dirt. A Reuters reporter counted 72 bodies.

Pictures showed the corrugated iron roofs of the flattened houses hanging from under thick layers of mud.

Robert Massamba, a doctor at the main Kalehi district hospital, said the injured survivors had been pouring in since Thursday evening.

“My team and I did not sleep. We received 56 patients, 80% of whom had fractures,” he said.

Floods and landslides are common in South Kivu, which shares a border with Rwanda. Heavy rains also caused floods and landslides in Rwanda this week, killing 130 people and destroying more than 5,000 homes.

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The last incident of similar magnitude occurred in Congo in October 2014, when torrential rains destroyed more than 700 homes. The United Nations says more than 130 people were missing at the time.

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