The Gorilla Organization is mobilizing support for its projects in South Kivu, DR Congo, in the wake of a series of devastating and deadly floods in the region.
After several days of heavy rainfall, flash flooding and mudslides hit several communities and settlements in the region, with the villages of Bushushu and Nyamukubi the worst affected. Officials have put the initial death toll at more than 400 people, with thousands missing and thousands more without shelter. Among the fatalities was a nurseryman working at the Gorilla Organization’s projects area of Cyanika, close to the border with Rwanda. A further 200 beneficiaries work at the nurseries, created to provide sustainable livelihoods for the Batwa communities of South Kivu and also combat habitat loss threatening the native gorilla population.
Gorilla Organization Director Jillian Miller says: “These mudslides are the latest in a long list of tragedies to hit the people living in South Kivu. The Gorilla Organization team based in the region ”
The Gorilla Organization team in DR Congo will be visiting the victim’s family to offer their condolences, to support the surviving nurserymen and women, and to assess the damage done to the projects by the rains and mudslides.
Country Manager Henry Cirhuza reported: “These rains caused a landslide and overflow of rivers that led to the destruction of houses, health centers, schools, bridges and many public buildings. In this disaster we lost two nursery sites, that of Bushushu and that of Nyamukubi. We mourn the death of a nurseryman, his family members and more than 200 beneficiaries in the two villages.”
Over recent years, ongoing deforestation has not only added to the pressure facing the endangered mountain gorilla population of DR Congo, but has also raised the risk of flooding and mudslides. The Gorilla Organization is working to plant more than 1 million trees in the area, to provide a ‘green buffer’ between the gorillas and the neighbouring communities,