Congo declares state of emergency over devastating floods, landslides
A state of humanitarian emergency has been announced in the Republic of Congo, following flooding caused by heavy rains that’s been pouring for over a month.
The government also announced the release of an emergency fund estimated at 4 million dollars to provide aid to disaster victims and overcome the damage caused by flooding in several departments.
The decision has been welcomed by civil society, but on the ground people want action.
“This year, to illustrate, the erosions were barely where you see the pipes so from November, here we are on January 02, so barely 2 months of rain, the erosions are already at 150 meters” says a flood victim.
“The wish of the population is that now that they have the means, that they arrive. Many parents have lost their lives here because of this erosion” he added.
More than 360 villages and 36 districts were flooded throughout the country, affecting more than 320,000 people.
At least 17 people have died and 6 remain missing. Urban planners are concerned by the scale of the disaster, and have called for collective responsibility.
Jean Felis Demba-Ntelo architect, urban planner and former Minister of Public Works said the current situation is not surprising.
“We encountered these problems when we drew up the master plan for the cities of Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. Let me remind you that in the 80s, we had foreseen all these problems and had said that if we maintained anarchy, we would witness this phenomenon”.
“At the time, we recommended that this area be preserved as a natural zone, and today we’ve spent 2 billion to help the local population, yes, but the phenomenon itself has reached a scale that requires 10 times 20 times more, and not just billions, but also an awareness of the people who are putting themselves at risk” Demba-Ntelo warned.
Africanews reports that people are doing what they can to limit the risk of landslides, especially as the rains are not expected to stop for the next few months, according to meteorologists.