Catholic Bishops in DR Congo Plead with Government to Address Flooding as Over 140 Die

The death toll from floods caused by torrential rains in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa has risen to 141. Credit: Diocese of Kigezi

Members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) are appealing to the Congolese government to address the causes of flooding in the country after over 140 people were reportedly left dead when floods and mudslides hit the country’s capital, Kinshasa.

In a message in which Catholic Bishops in DRC express their solidarity with the Archbishop of Kinshasa, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo, CENCO members acknowledge that the government had responded promptly to the Tuesday, December 13 incident, and call for action to stop further deaths in the Central African nation. 

“We commend the Government's promptness in responding and the humanitarian initiatives for the victims and the fact that the State has taken full responsibility for the funeral of the victims,” Catholic Bishops in DRC say in their statement dated December 14.

They add, “We ask the Congolese Government and the Provincial Government to do everything possible to accelerate the sanitation work and the urbanization process in the city of Kinshasa. It is the same for the other big cities of our country.”

“It is up to the Government to ensure the safety of the population and thus avoid too many deaths,” CENCO members say.


At least 141 people reportedly died in DRC on December 13 after heavy rains caused floods and landslides in the capital, Kinshasa, Congolese officials said. 

The New York Times reported that the December 13 incident was the latest in a series of deadly environmental disasters to hit West and Central African countries this year.

According to the publication, many neighborhoods, major infrastructure, and key roads were still underwater or in ruins on December 14 after the previous day’s all-night downpour brought the worst floods in years to the city of 15 million people. 

Nearly 40,000 households were flooded and 280 collapsed, according to an official document seen by The New York Times.

The leadership of the Central African nation has since declared three days of national mourning beginning December 14. It is reported that the death toll is likely to rise.

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In their December 14 statement, CENCO members say that they are “very affected and concerned” by the human and material damage they said had been caused by the torrential rains in Kinshasa.

“It (CENCO) shares the suffering of the families affected by this tragedy which, once again plunges the Congolese people in general and the people of Kinshasa in particular into desolation,” the Catholic Bishops say. 

They add, “CENCO presents its Christian condolences to you, Eminence, to the families of the victims of this tragedy and the whole family of God in Kinshasa. It expresses its compassion and spiritual closeness to you and all the people affected.” 

The Congolese people also have a role to play in mitigating flooding in DRC, the Catholic Bishops say.

They underline the need for the population to become aware of its responsibility in the management and protection of the environment, and to “abstain from building in an anarchic way to protect itself and our common home.”


In their message of solidarity with victims of the December 13 flooding and mudslides, Catholic Bishops in DRC say, “May the populations affected by these tragedies remain confident in God.”

“May through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, may the Risen Lord bind up the wounds of the wounded and restore courage and hope to all those who have lost their brothers and sisters. May he console the bereaved families and grant eternal rest to the victims,” they say.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.