Harare — A landslide brought on by torrential rains killed at least 17 people in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Al Jazeera reports.
The authorities, however, issued a warning that the death toll may increase as rescuers comb through mud and the wreckage of destroyed homes.
The catastrophe occurred on September 17, near the Congo River in the village of Lisal in the Mongala region, where the victims lived in houses constructed at the base of a mountain, according to Matthieu Mole, president of the civil society organisation Forces Vives.
According to Governor Cesar Limbaya Mbangisa, there is an urgent need for machinery to clear the wreckage and rescue survivors. The governor has since declared three days of mourning across the province.
Residents in such locations are more susceptible to extreme weather, such as torrential rains, which are growing more frequent and intense throughout Africa as a result of climate change, according to United Nations climate experts.
Africa saw landslides and flooding on a never-before-seen scale in 2022. Many leaders, including Felix Tshesekedi, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, attributed the occurrence to the climate catastrophe.
In 2022, South Africa experienced devastating floods in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. The government proclaimed states of disaster for both areas and began to rebuild the infrastructure that had been destroyed.
Flooding also hit Zimbabwe in 2022, and in neighbouring Mozambique – affected by three natural disasters during the cyclone season – October 2021 to April 2022. Tropical Cyclone Gombe struck on March 11, 2022, leaving devastation in its wake. The cyclone affected 736,000 people and displaced 23,000 people. This cyclone followed two extreme weather events – Tropical Storm Ana and Tropical Depression Dumako which had struck six weeks earlier, affecting 200,000 people. Tropical Storm Ana struck Malawi on January 24, 2022, sparking a call for international aid from the UN.
On December 13, 2022 heavy rains in DR Congo, led to devastating landslides that saw thousands of people lose their lives.
The climate crisis in Africa will continue having devastating consequences until action is taken to mitigate the loss of life and damage to infrastructure. It is also impacting areas such as health and is resulting in various outbreaks, including the spread of Cholera.