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Deforestation in DRC Leads to Disasters

Deforestation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been ongoing for decades. Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Annual deforestation rates exceeded 2.5 million acres in the past five years and are believed to have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic (Schneider, 2020). Poor governance and corruption have created a dangerous mix for the protection of the country’s forests. Constant deforestation and the tropical environment has led to many dangerous landslides in DRC.

What happened on April 2?

At least 20 people died on Sunday, April 2, 2023 in the village of Bulwa in the Masisi territory of the North Kivu Province. The search for other victims is still ongoing. Alphonse Mushesha Mihingano, a local administrator, said around 25 mothers, with their children, had been doing laundry in a stream at the foot of a mountain when ground gave way above, burying some of them. (2023). The Provincial deputy of North Kivu, Alexis Bahunga, gave an update on the situation in a statement on April 3, 2023. The Deputy said,


“More than 20 people have died in a landslide this Sunday 02.03.2023 in Bulwa, Gpt Buabo, in Masisi Territory; I offer my condolences to the population of Buabo and ask the Govt to assist these victim families by organizing a dignified funeral.” (Davies, 2023)



Deforestation in DRC Leads to Mudslides

According to the CDC, Mudslides develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground and results in a surge of water-saturated rock, earth, and debris. Areas where human modification has destroyed vegetation on slopes are vulnerable to landslides during heavy rains. 


During the wet seasons, DRC suffers due to landslides, with houses and people being swept away yearly. The main reason for this is the constant urbanization of land without the proper infrastructure maintenance. (2023)

deforestation in drc
Source: Unsplash

DRC is one of the most infrastructurally challenged countries in the world. With a lack of economic opportunities, political conflicts, poor education, illnesses and instability, landslides and other humanitarian conflicts will continue to challenge the development of this country and its people. The rise in temperature and overwhelming deforestation have resulted in the increase in frequency of extreme weather events in the DRC and many other countries in Africa (Zeufack et al., 2021).

Deforestation in DRC: Solutions

The United Nations and other organizations such as IDEAS For Us continue to offer their assistance. Not only are they offering help due to the climate and food security issues but also the infrastructure crisis. With the help of many organizations, IDEAS For Us DRC has been able to plant thousands of native and fruit trees in the Kivu Province. Families have been taught how to properly care for their land and how to grow healthy trees for the advancement of the community and their food supply. Many are providing humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing war and violence that has occurred in this country and continue to leave millions of people without a home. (Democratic Republic of Congo, n.d.)


One percent for the planet

IDEAS For Us DRC leaders complete a garden expansion project to increase food security for the community.


CBS Interactive. (2023, April 3). At least 20 killed as landslide hits Congo villagers cleaning clothes in Mountain Stream. CBS News. Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/congo-landslide-deaths-north-kivu-rescue-efforts/ 


‌Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Landslides and Mudslides |CDC. Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/landslides.html


Davies, R. (2023, April 3). Democratic Republic of the Congo – 20 Killed in North Kivu 

Landslide. Floodlist.com. https://floodlist.com/africa/democratic-republic-of-the-congo-20-killed-in-north-kivu-landslide


Democratic Republic of Congo. (n.d.). International Rescue Committee (IRC). https://www.rescue.org/country/democratic-republic-congo


Schneider, Victoria. (2020, December 21). Poor governance fuels “horrible dynamic” of deforestation in DRC. Mongabay Environmental News. https://news.mongabay.com/2020/12/poor-governance-fuels-horrible-dynamic-of-deforestation-in-drc/

Zeufack, A. G., Calderon, C., Ntumba Kabundi, A., Kubota, M., Korman, V., & Canales, C. C. (2021). Africa’s pulse, no. 23, October 2021. https://doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-1805-9 

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