Dozens dead as heavy rain pounds DR Congo capital

At least 41 dead in Kinshasa as the city is battered by torrential rains and landslides, says top city official.

    Fatal floods are frequent in Kinshasa, Africa's third-largest city with around 10 million people [Ange Nge Kasongo/AFP]
    Fatal floods are frequent in Kinshasa, Africa's third-largest city with around 10 million people [Ange Nge Kasongo/AFP]

    At least 41 people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, Kinshasa, after torrential overnight rains, with some swept away by landslides, a top city official said.

    "The loss, in terms of property and lives, is really huge," Kinshasa's vice governor, Neron Mbungu, told the AFP news agency, adding that the dead included a child who was electrocuted.

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    He said three of the city's 26 districts were badly hit, adding that rescue workers were continuing to hunt for more bodies.

    "Wherever we found death, we gave the mayors the means to bring the bodies to the morgue, and we also made available the means for the wounded to be taken to medical centres," he said.

    The official said a bridge connecting the districts of Lemba and Ngaba collapsed, and another was destroyed in the district of Kisenso.

    The mayor of Lemba, Jean Nsaka, said a drainage ditch had given way under pressure of the water, and the highway had been engulfed.

    "More than 300 homes have been flooded. There are many houses which have been destroyed," Nsaka said.

    Seven other people died in floods and landslides in South Kivu in the far east of the vast country, local official Seth Wenga said.

    Fatal floods are frequent in Kinshasa, Africa's third-largest city with around 10 million people. Experts say the city's substandard building practices and large slum areas give little protection, leading to relatively high death tolls.

    In January last year, around 50 people were killed in landslides and floods and after houses collapsed following just one night of heavy rain.

    President Felix Tshisekedi visited one of the worst-affected areas on Tuesday and was heckled by a group of young people, who told him to "come and put the concrete back on our street".

    "If the housing units were decent, we would not have experienced disasters like this," Daniel Mbau, a member of Parliament, said after visiting Lemba commune.

    SOURCE: News agencies