At least 120 people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa following heavy rains.
The toll may rise, according to Health minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani Mbanda who is quoted by Reuters as saying that 141 dead had ben counted.
That number though is now needed to be cross-checked with other departments before further announcement.
The heavy rains triggered floods and caused landslides, according to the government. Homes have been flooded, roads including the N1 highway that connects Kinshasa to the chief sea port of Matadi have been ripped apart.
The N1 highway could be closed for 3-4 days, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
Congo’s president Felix Tshisekedi has said that his “thoughts are turned at this moment to my compatriots, victims of this natural disaster. It is therefore imperative to act quickly and now.”
Mr. Tshisekedi who is attending the US-Africa leaders summit in Washington DC also declared a three day of national mourning for victims of the floods.
À l’issue de cette réunion, le Chef de l’État a décidé de décréter un deuil national de trois jours à dater du mercredi 14.12.2022, d’écourter son séjour aux USA, de rentrer à Kinshasa, le jeudi 15.12, après sa rencontre avec le Président Joe Biden, des États-Unis.
— Présidence RDC 🇨🇩 (@Presidence_RDC) December 14, 2022
Images have been shared on Twitter showing the prime minister touring affected areas.
#RDC : Plusieurs dizaines de compatriotes ont perdu la vie, des dégâts matériels importants. Avec le gouverneur de la ville, les ministres et d’autres responsables, le PM @LukondeSama est sur terrain pour faire l’évaluation générale, un bilan global suivra au terme de sa tournée. pic.twitter.com/8ddHof4agP
— Patrick Muyaya (@PatrickMuyaya) December 13, 2022
At least 39 people died in Kinshasa in 2019 when torrential rain flooded low-lying districts and some buildings and roads collapsed.