A landslide killed at least 19 people in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, residents and local officials in the region said. The incident occurred in the late morning in the village of Bulwa, in North Kivu’s Masisi territory, according to Chadrack Mbukanirwa Ndibanja, one of the village leaders.
He said at least 19 people had died in the landslide, with the search for more victims due to continue on Monday. Local officials confirmed that 19 bodies had been retrieved but emphasised that the death toll was provisional.
They said around 25 mothers, with their children, had been doing laundry in a stream at the foot of a mountain when the ground gave way, burying some of them.
Bulwa resident Musafiri Balume gave a similar account, saying he had lost a sister in the landslide, which occurred during heavy rains. Sustained heavy rainfall could trigger flooding in low-lying communities near rivers, streams, and creeks.
Urban flooding is also possible in developed areas with easily overwhelmed stormwater drainage systems. Sites located downstream from large reservoirs or rivers may be subject to flash flooding after relatively short periods of intense rainfall.
Landslides are possible in hilly or mountainous areas, especially where the soil has become saturated by heavy rainfall. Authorities could issue mandatory evacuation orders for flood-prone communities over the coming days, a notice to foreigners in the area said.
“Disruptions to electricity and telecommunications services are possible where significant flooding or landslides impact utility networks.”