The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Fatal Floods: What Caused Them, and How to Help

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

May 10 2023, Published 12:53 p.m. ET

An aerial view of the Congo River.
Source: iStock

Tragedy struck the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May 2023, after more than 400 people lost their lives and over 5,000 were left missing, thanks to a climate change-induced natural disaster. Entire villages were lost in a major flood, while landslides that ensued ended up wiping out entire neighborhoods. And while this devastated the entire country, the 2023 Democratic Republic of the Congo floods hit the South Kivu province the hardest — specifically the Bushushu and Nyamukubi villages.

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Rescue efforts have been difficult, according to CNN, because roads were completely inundated with mud amid ongoing landslides. So some have taken to wading into the lake.

“The Congolese government and its partners should find a safe place where the victims will be relocated and ask the population not to use the flowing waters and the lake during this period,” Valet Chebujongo, an activist in Kalehe, stated via CNN. "People are crossing the lake, another danger.”

But what caused the Democratic Republic of the Congo floods? And how can we help those affected by this natural disaster? Keep reading for more on this heartbreaking news.

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What caused the 2023 DRC floods?

The floods were triggered by — you guessed it — climate change.

According to The Guardian, much of the country was washed out by torrential rain. Farmland was completely soaked, and villages were effectively washed away. Many in Bushushu and Nyamukubi evacuated on foot to "nearby" villages, which were up to three hours away. Trucks and even motorbikes, for that matter, can't make it through the roads, which have been almost entirely blocked off by mud and other debris.

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But much of the reason the region was so heavily impacted by these floods, according to The Guardian, is because of poor infrastructure. It's made communication and rescue efforts unusually difficult, and it's allowed for more houses and buildings to be effectively swept away by rushing waters (which, of course, has become increasingly worse in recent years). The last major flood in the DRC, in December 2022, also left hundreds dead and missing.

More in the BBC News clip, below.

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How to help the DRC, amid fatal floods:

During these difficult times, it's important to invest in helping those who have been impacted by the floods. Every cent counts. Here are a few places you can donate to.


UNICEF DRC helps children across the country, and seeing as many have lost their homes and even families, there are many who could use some help at this moment in time.

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Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders is providing medical assistance to those who were injured by the floods and landslides. Your donations could provide those on the frontlines with medical supplies, and funds to help people recover.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo Humanitarian Fund

The UN's Democratic Republic of the Congo Humanitarian Fund raises money for the country as political, social, and weather-related issues arise. Donations are distributed to partner organizations that come to the front lines of response — so in this case, it would be local government agencies, or other organizations that have been deployed to help those in need.

World Food Programme

The 2023 floods washed out quite a bit of farmland in the DRC. These lands were supplying crops to the country, which has historically struggled from food shortages. The World Food Programme donates to help feed those in need, specifically in the DRC.

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