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After The Floods, A Congolese Town Takes Stock

Torrential rains turned roads into rivers around Dungu. Copyright: WFP/Fabienne Pompey

Relentless November rains demolished houses and left thousands of people homeless in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. WFP came to the rescue, with food distributions that are helping flood victims survive — and tide them over as they repair the damage and begin farming again.

DUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo — For eight straight days in November, torrential rains beat down on this remote northeastern pocket of the country, located just a few hundred kilometres from the Ugandan border. Here in the town of Dungu, seated at the confluence of two rivers, house after flimsily built house caved under the mounting floodwaters.

Louise Yamoni's home was among them, collapsing as the rivers burst their banks.

"I not only lost my house but also my goats and ducks," says the 54-year-old widow and mother of 12. Her family found refuge with neighbors, but they sleep outdoors.

Yamoni at least can depend on WFP assistance. Shortly after the flooding, the agency distributed 30 days of rations to 12,000 flood victims around Dungu.

 "Things are a bit better since we received the food, along with tarps and mosquito netting," Yamoni says.

The family's sole breadwinner, Yamoni still faces daunting challenges. She has no savings to invest in rebuilding her house or buying new livestock.

Life is also hard for Elodie Magindriko. When the rains first arrived, Madindriko's home remained intact. Her daughter and four grandchildren arrived, seeking shelter from the rains.

But the floodwaters prevailed. One of her walls crumbled. The rest soon followed. Like Yamoni, Mandriko and her family now live with another family, but they sleep under starry skies. With no customers or place to work, she has also lost her beverage trade.

One month after the flooding, three-quarters of those displaced still cannot return to their homes. WFP is now distributing a second round of assistance that will tide them over for another three months — giving them time to repair the damage and begin farming again