Unusual floods in eastern Congo causing hardship to almost half a million people, WFP says

GOMA, Congo (AP) — Floods caused by unusually heavy rains in eastern Congo caused hardship for more than 470,000 people, the World Food Program said Wednesday.

Heavy rains late last year caused rivers and lakes in the South Kivu and Tanganyika provinces to overflow, destroying crops, blocking roads and forcing villagers to seek refuge in temporary shelters. The World Food Program attributed the heavy rains to climate change.

One farmer told WFP that he was struggling to feed his family of six after losing his crops to floods, and was living in a temporary shelter with other families displaced by the inundation.

The WFP report said the people impacted by the floods are also vulnerable to diseases, often having no option but to wash clothes and kitchen utensils in cholera contaminated water. In some areas, farmers are sheltering with their cattle, further increasing the risk of disease.

WFP also said that it lacked the resources needed to respond to the needs of people in areas impacted by the floods.

Africa has been hard hit by extreme weather in recent days. In Kenya, 257 were killed by flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains and 55,000 were displaced according a government announcement Wednesday.