Floods triggered by heavy rains and a river bursting its banks have killed at least 50 people and left thousands more homeless in Boma, the central city of the Alliance national church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The rains began December 26.
“We had such joyful, festive Christmas celebrations,” says Dr. Mabiala Kenzo, the C&MA national church president. “Our five-hour service [proceeded] without a glitch. The kids, who, in our tradition, play a significant role in the Christmas Day liturgy, recited Bible verses and reenacted the Nativity scene.”
One day later, Dr. Kenzo was awakened during the night by Matu, a church staffer, who reported that his entire neighborhood was under water. “We would spend the rest of the night calling relatives and church members who lived in Boma’s low-lying areas,” Dr. Kenzo says.
The full picture only emerged in the morning. “We were seeing the worst flooding the city has ever known,” Dr. Kenzo observes. “All the rivers in Boma, including the mighty Congo, [overflowed] their banks in one night.”
“We spent all day visiting the most affected areas, trying to bring comfort and support to [those who experienced loss]. I personally counted more than 30 homes completely leveled. Bodies were recovered, with many more still missing.”
Among the dead are some of the children who recited Bible verses on Christmas Day. In one family from the church, a grandmother was living with her five grandchildren. “Everyone is gone after the mud-brick house collapsed and was washed away by strong currents,” Dr. Kenzo laments.
“We have started burying our dead while searching for those still missing.”
- for the God of all peace to comfort those who were affected by this tragedy
- for lost people to be drawn to Jesus amid their grief
- for provision for those who have lost homes and property
- for Alliance church members to shine Christ’s light in this heartbreaking situation