The Congo River has reached its highest level in more than sixty years, causing floods in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo that have killed more than 300 people in recent months, according to authorities. On Wednesday (January 10), the river reached 6.20 meters above sea level, close to the 1961 record of 6.26 meters, Ferry Mowa, a hydrology specialist with the water authority, told Reuters. waterways of the DRC, integrated into the Ministry of Transport.

This flood comes after exceptionally heavy rains inland, he explains. According to him, almost the entire plain around the DRC capital Kinshasa, which lies on the banks of the Congo River, could be affected by flooding. “It is imperative that people who live around the river move,” warns Ferry Mowa.

Poor urban planning and insufficient infrastructure have left some African countries vulnerable to flash floods after intense rains, which have become more frequent due to climate change.

Several neighborhoods in Kinshasa, as well as localities located in more than a dozen provinces, were flooded, the DRC Ministry of Social Affairs recorded. In a statement released last week, the ministry said nearly 300 people died in the floods which affected 300,000 homes and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

No flood prevention plan

In the neighboring Republic of Congo, whose capital, Brazzaville, also lies on the banks of the Congo River, at least seventeen people have died in floods in eight departments, including the capital, and more than 60,000 homes have been affected , authorities told Reuters.

Some residents are using shovels to clear their way through flooded streets where water has risen to the roofs of some homes. The floodwaters also washed away thousands of discarded plastic bottles and other debris that now clutters the streets.

Raphael Tshimanga Muamba, director of a Congo Basin research center in the DRC, regretted that the country does not have a flood prevention plan and called for the creation of a fund to help manage natural disasters.

DRC Minister of Social and Humanitarian Affairs Modeste Mutinga told Reuters a meeting would be held this Thursday to assess additional humanitarian aid.