At least 13 people are dead and more than 100 others left homeless after heavy rainfall triggered floods in the Central African Republic on Monday July 25, 2022.
The local Red Cross workers in Bangui are trying to bring the situation under control.
Local Red Cross Chief, Antoine Mbao Bogo said he was “surprised” at the damages which he described as unprecedented in a country where flooding is frequent.
According to a provisional toll, nine people died in Bouchia in the south, three in the eastern town of Bria and one in the capital Bangui, he said.
The government has set up a taskforce to map out the hardest-hit neighbourhoods with a view to improving infrastructure and preventing more disasters, he added.
At least 3 children were reported missing after being swept away by the floods in two separate incidents. Six people were taken to hospital to be treated for injuries sustained during the severe weather. Around 250 homes collapsed and many more were damaged or flooded, leaving thousands homeless. Some of those left homeless took refuge in religious buildings or schools. There are also reports that the Ubangi River had overflown its banks.
The severe weather also affected other areas of the country. In the prefecture of Lobaye, situated south of the capital, 9 people from the same family died in the village of Bouchia due to falling trees.
Further north in Haute-Kotto prefecture, heavy rain caused the walls of a house to collapse in Bria, leaving one person dead and three injured.
Bangui witnessed severe flooding in May last year, and again in August.
Lack of adequate drainage systems and channels often blocked with waste and garbage increase the risk of flooding in the city.
“I lost everything; I don’t even know where to go with my children,” Bangui resident, Safiatou Ngbedi, who escaped from her home moments before it collapsed, told AFP.
Josue Djazoundou, a petrol seller in Bangui, was worried that water from his well had been contaminated by the overflowing toilets nearby.
“I only pray that the children don’t fall ill,” he said.
The CAR is one of the world’s poorest countries and more than half of its population requires humanitarian assistance, according to the World Bank. In 2019, at least 28,000 people were left homeless by mass flooding after exceptional heavy and continuous rainfall caused the Ubangi river and its tributaries to overflow their banks.