Due to heavy rain, rescue workers had to gather mud-covered corpses into piles. At least 200 people have lost their lives in flash floods in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, based on numerous reports.
Rainfall over the past few days has caused rivers in Kalehe territory in the South Kivu province to overflow, causing the communities of Bushushu and Nyamukubi to surge with water and mud on Thursday.
The governor of South Kivu, Théo Ngwabidje Kasi, reported 176 deaths, and more were yet to be retrieved. However, Kasole Martin, a member of the local civil society, said 227 bodies had been recovered.
Rescue worker Michake Ntamana said villagers are searching for and burying the bodies of loved ones after finding them. Several bodies were being buried in leaves from the trees after they were washed down from higher villages in the hills, Michake revealed.
Anuarite Zikujuwa, a grieving survivor, said she lost her entire family, including many of her neighbours. She also said it was like her village had become a wasteland.
A team of surgeons, anaesthetists, and technicians has been sent to the area to provide emergency medical care to the population by Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, whose clinic is in the capital of South Kivu.
A national day of mourning has been declared by President Felix Tshisekedi for Monday to remember the victims, and a crisis management team is being sent to the province to help support the government through these difficult times.
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