DR Congo Capital in turmoil as river bursts banks 

Burst riverbanks are causing turmoil in DR Congo’s capital Kinshasa, with dark and foul-smelling water pouring into homes across working-class neighbourhoods in the central African megacity.

The impoverished metropolis of some 15 million people sits on the Congo River — the second largest in Africa after the Nile — which has swollen to near-record levels over the past several weeks.

Kinshasa is crisscrossed with small rivers and waterways, which often double as open sewers. Many have now overflown.

In the district of Pompage, a bridge over one such small river has been completely submerged, creating a stinking and stagnant pool in the middle of a residential district.

“The river is backing up,” said Therese Matete, a 45-year-old seller of dried fish, pointing to a body of water, covered with plastic bottles.

In lieu of the bridge, residents now have to use a makeshift canoe pushed by young men waist-deep in the water. The fare is 500 Congolese francs ($0.19, 0.17-euro cents).

Niclette Luzolo, a 32-year-old hairdresser in Pompage, said her house had completely flooded.

“Everything’s destroyed, we’ve got nothing left. I’m sleeping in church with my four children and the mosquitoes are biting us,” she said.

Flooding is common in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, but locals say that this year is the worst.

In late December, the agency that manages the DRC’s waterways, the RVF, warned of “exceptional flooding” along the Congo River and its tributaries.

Measurements taken in Kinshasa indicated that the river had risen 5.94 metres (19.5 feet), close to the high-water mark of 6.26 metres during record flooding in 1961.

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Comfort Samuel

I work with TV360 Nigeria, as a broadcast journalist, producer and reporter. I'm so passionate on what I do.

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