DRC, Burundi Borders face floods

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Congolese and Burundian people pile onto this tractor and cross a 4km stretch of road flooded by Lake Tanganyika to reach the Kamvinvira border post between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

For more than six months, passengers have been charged between 2,000 and 5,000 FC to travel in heavy trucks or Land Cruiser jeeps to the border.

For those with less financial means, canoes costing 2,000 FC offer a solution.

Safi Mugoli, a resident of Uvira on her way to Bujumbura, describes the current situation as catastrophic and unprecedented.

“The road to the border is under water, so we cross by canoes or farming tractors. Sometimes we fall into the water and risk drowning. We’re asking the State to help us with this customs road.”

Faced with this suffering, more and more people are calling on the Congolese government to urgently find a solution to ease traffic between the two countries and help local residents, especially small traders.

“We sleep under tents with the children, we suffer a lot because we have nowhere to go. Even to go to the market, we have to take a canoe. If you don’t have money, you have to swim. The women are suffering from infections and we’re desperate.”

The South Kivu provincial government, through its spokesman, acknowledged the consequences of the rising water levels at the border.

“There were pillars already built that were submerged every time the water rose and blocked the work.

A bridge is under construction to allow regular crossings. What has been done at Kamvinvira can also be done at Sange, so we’re not standing still and are always looking for solutions. As long as the government is present, solutions will always be found.”

As the provincial government seeks a solution to this problem, the Kamvinvira border remains the main access route to Bujumbura for many travellers, as Burundi has closed its other borders with Rwanda.

 

Africanews/Hauwa M.

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