Widespread floods in the Republic of Congo have pushed hundreds of thousands of people to be in urgent need of assistance, said the United Nations Friday.
Unusually heavy rainfall has caused nine of the countries 12 departments to be affected with floods damaging health facilities and schools and submerging farmland, said the World Health Organization in a statement. More than 330,000 people have been impacted.
“WHO is committed to supporting the government to ramp up emergency response to save lives and ensure access to critical basic services,” said Lucien Manga, a representative in the Republic of Congo for the organization.
The rainfall is twice the average of what was recorded between 2022 and 2023 and the floods have destroyed or damaged 34 health facilities, 120 schools and more than 64, 000 houses, it said.
The flooding occurred along Congo’s riverbanks around the Ubangi River with the United Nations warning it could lead to the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera and impede access to healthcare.
River levels are at an all time high and it’s likely the waters will not recede in the immediate future, said government spokesman Thierry Moungalla. Since flooding began some two weeks ago it has killed at least 17 people, he said.
While flooding is not rare in Congo, residents in the capital, Brazzaville said they haven’t seen anything like this in decades.
“Not even the floods of 1961 were on the scale we’re seeing in Brazzaville today,” said Antoine Okandza. The 78-year-old said his house was washed away by the water.
The government said it was giving more than $3 million to an emergency fund for disaster relief.