By Ebi Kesiena
The Republic of Congo has declared a state of humanitarian emergency in response to extensive flooding caused by relentless heavy rains persisting for over a month.
The government has also announced the allocation of a 4-million-dollar emergency fund to aid disaster victims and address the damages inflicted by flooding across various departments.
While civil society has welcomed the decision, people on the ground are urging swift action. A flood victim expressed concerns about the rapid erosion, stating, “This year, the erosions have already reached 150 meters within barely two months of rain from November to January 02. Many parents have lost their lives due to this erosion, and the population wishes that with the available resources, help will arrive.”
The flooding has affected over 360 villages and 36 districts nationwide, impacting more than 320,000 individuals. The toll includes at least 17 reported deaths, with six people still missing. Urban planners are alarmed by the scale of the disaster and emphasize the need for collective responsibility.
Jean Felis Demba-Ntelo, an architect, urban planner, and former Minister of Public Works, expressed that the current situation is not surprising.
He highlighted past recommendations made during the planning of cities like Brazzaville and Pointe Noire in the 80s, emphasizing the need to preserve certain areas as natural zones. Demba-Ntelo warned that the ongoing situation requires a more substantial response, both in terms of financial resources and public awareness.
With over 2 billion spent to assist the local population, concerns persist as the phenomenon has escalated beyond initial predictions.
The urgency of the situation is further underscored by reports that people are taking measures to mitigate landslide risks, especially with meteorologists predicting the continuation of rains in the coming months.