UNICEF gives aid to flood victims

The UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, said on Wednesday it would provide emergency aid to hundreds of people affected by severe flooding in Bas Congo Province, western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Torrential rains in the night of 14-15 December caused one death and widespread damage to the village of Lufutoto, which has a population of some 8,000. UNICEF representative Lamy Kuntonda said after visiting the affected area that 881 people had been made homeless, including 180 children aged five and under.

"Most of the families who saw their mud houses washed away by the strong rains have also lost their fields, their ploughs, food and clothes," UNICEF said in a communique.

"Although the schools in Lufutoto survived, the pupils no longer have uniforms, books or stationary. The only hospital lacks all essential medicines," it added.

UNICEF said it was preparing kits for the victims including cloth, cooking utensils, jerrycans and school items worth US $3000. It said a local crisis committee had been set up and the government had set aside an emergency fund of $10,000.