Dozens of people died in a large flood and landslides caused by heavy rains that occurred on Tuesday in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo: the city police chief said there were at least 50 dead, indicating the estimate as very provisional. On the basis of the statements made by some local administrators, even much higher estimates are circulating, which they talk of at least 100 people dead.
Dozens of other people were injured and there is a currently difficult to estimate number of missing, while the forces of order are searching the mud and ruins for the bodies of any other dead people. Many houses were destroyed, overwhelmed by the floods of mud, water and debris that formed following the rains.
In particular, 24 neighborhoods of Kinshasa were affected, where about 12 million people live (out of the total of over 17 million). The Congolese capital is one of the fastest growing cities in recent decades, and today it is one of Africa’s largest megacities. The rapid urbanization of the city, which has been little and poorly regulated over the years, is indicated as one of the factors that have made it vulnerable to flooding caused by heavy rains, which are increasingly frequent. In 2019, dozens of people died in a similar event.
According to reconstructions provided by Congolese government officials, most of the damage from this flood occurred in areas where many houses had been built illegally.