Floods in Uvira: MONUSCO engaged alongside the local populations and authorities
The torrential rains that fell on the city of Uvira, in the South Kivu province, from Thursday 16 to Friday 17 April 2020, caused floods with significant material damage and several deaths (about thirty reported to date). If the death toll is evolving as the emergency services are moving, traffic must urgently be restored on the damaged roads, possible survivors who are still under the rubble of destroyed houses must be found and water supply in this area with nearly one million inhabitants should be quickly restored, in this difficult context of the coronavirus pandemic.
The facilities of the National Water Distribution Company (Regideso) were indeed washed away or even destroyed by the rainwaters. And worst all, the risk of cholera is to be feared.
MONUSCO's assistance ... gives us hope to overcome the disaster.
"We are proud of the assistance from MONUSCO, whom we wholeheartedly congratulate. This gives us hope to overcome the disaster," said Alexis Rachidi Kasangala, the Uvira territorial Administrator.
Alongside the Crisis unit set up by the authorities, MONUSCO and its humanitarian partners (including United Nations Agencies) have been actively involved since the onset of the disaster in assisting the authorities and the populations to deal with it. First, by catering for the most urgent need in evacuating the victims stranded in their flooded houses, including children and the elderly.
Then, by identifying other urgent needs with the authorities: according to the City Hall report, 75,000 people are homeless, or roughly 21% of the total population of Uvira; 15,000 houses flooded and partially or totally damaged, 7 bridges damaged or completely collapsed in Runingu, Luberizi, Sange, Luvungi… in the Ruzizi Plain, where MONUSCO deployed a road assessment team to assess how quickly can traffic be restored on this (vital) national highroad number 5.
As a result of another assessment made with the provincial Minister of Infrastructure on several roads of Uvira, more particularly in Mulongwe district on Saturday, MONUSCO promised to build a 60-meter long and 2–meter high protective seawall on the river Mulongwe to channel the waters. The work, slated to start on Sunday morning, will be carried out by Chinese peacekeepers.
The Mission will in the meantime proceed with the work of securing property and people: "We are working alongside the Congolese Police to secure the damaged houses and prevent the onlookers from looting the properties abandoned by their owners", says Clémence Doamba, Head of MONUSCO Police sub-sector in Uvira.
As a reminder, according to the latest official figures, the rains left 36 dead, including 26 in the City of Uvira (16 children, 6 women and 4 men) and 6 in the Territory of Uvira (all of whom are men). There are also 42 injured who were evacuated to various health clinics.
The Congolese Red Cross, humanitarian actors and volunteers are searching for missing victims. The mortuary facility of the general referral hospital has already exceeded its capacity which is four bodies, said the Deputy Mayor of Uvira.