Kinshasa: MSF assists over 2,500 flood victims

Kinshasa: MSF assists over 2,500 flood victims

The city of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been affected for several weeks by flooding caused by torrential rain and the rising Congo River. Seven communes have been badly hit, including Limete, where MSF teams are working. According to official figures, 12 people have died and 1,177 houses have been destroyed.

"I was at home when I saw the water come into my house right up to the roof. First, I took my husband, who is visually impaired, to safety, then my children. The water was so heavy that we left our house without taking anything with us. We took refuge in a shed with hundreds of other families", explains Anastasie Lusamba, one of the flood victims.

Others who were trapped during the night and were unable to escape have lost all their belongings and are now without any means of support. Marie Makese arrived with her family more than a fortnight ago at the Mbukalisu site in the commune of Limete, which has been made available by the Church.

"The water came in all over my house. Today I've lost everything: my clothes, my kitchen utensils, my bed and my goods. My children no longer have any school supplies. While the others go to school, they stay in the yard to play", she says indignantly.

MSF deploys teams in Limete commune for emergency response

On the Mbukalisu site belonging to the Saint Ngoza parish, in the Limete commune, a reception site has been set up as a matter of urgency to accommodate these stricken families.

"This land has often been used as a refuge for families when floods hit the Kingambwa district. Before MSF arrived, some families found themselves living with up to 20 people in a shelter with a capacity of five. Because of the lack of space in these cramped makeshift dwellings, some people had to spend the night under the stars, without electricity or access to latrines and drinking water, exposing themselves to disease," explains Dago Inagbe, MSF's Head of Mission in Kinshasa.

Since the beginning of January, MSF has deployed a logistical and medical team to the site identified by the authorities to meet the needs of the affected population. For the 400 households affected (more than 2,500 people, mainly women and children), MSF has installed six latrines, six showers, 10 tents to shelter victims and lighting; drinking water is also being provided. From a medical point of view, a mobile clinic provides access to primary health care and offers mental health care to the victims, with a particular focus on people with disabilities, who are even more vulnerable in this type of disaster. The main pathologies recorded so far are malaria, urinary tract infections and typhoid fever linked to the poor conditions in which these people are living.

"Our clinic receives a minimum of 35 patients a day. Since the start of the operation, 150 patients have been treated for malaria, 80 have been admitted for urinary infections and 65 for typhoid fever. Some patients describe anxiety and suicide because they have lost everything. We have already carried out 27 mental health consultations to help them. 350 mosquito nets have been distributed in collaboration with the health zone", explains Dago Inagbe, MSF's Head of Mission in Kinshasa.

The number of arrivals continues to rise. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, MSF is working to identify two other sites in the commune of Limete to extend assistance, as many needs have not yet been met.

"The provision of services is limited by the small size of the site. At the Kingabwa site, for example, apart from our commitment, there is still a need for shelters, latrines and showers to meet standards. And access to food remains one of the biggest challenges. We need to mobilise all the players involved to come to the aid of those affected", pleads Dago Inagbé.

The rains caused rivers and the Congo River to overflow their banks, not only in Kinshasa but also in several other provinces of the country. The national authorities estimate that at least 600,000 people are affected in eight provinces: Sud Kivu, Kasaï Central, Kasaï, Tshuapa, Mongala, Tshopo, Haut Uele and Kinshasa. MSF has also deployed a team to Kananga in the province of Kasaï Central to carry out a needs assessment with a view to providing a humanitarian response.

Hannah Hoexter Senior Press Officer, MSF UK




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This is the press room for MSF UK - the UK office of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

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