More than 8,000 people will benefit from new flood prevention measures planned for Mossaka, in the northern Cuvette region of Congo, officials have said.
The Government has sent a delegation of experts from the Ministry of Public Works to the flood-prone area, 450km from Brazzaville, to devise plans for further flood protection at the intersection of the Likouala, Sangha and Congo rivers.
Mossaka sub-prefect Félix Ondziel Ona said the project was commissioned by President Denis Sassou Nguesso several months ago.
“The team has come just on time, as the October and November rains and the associated flooding cause severe damage in the area,” he said. “The construction of a larger dyke will cover the whole locality and allow the return of activities on the river. We hope the government will start the works very soon.”
The existing protection measures were built in colonial times and are badly damaged from previous heavy rains. Director of Public Works Blaise Onanga said: “Floods cause havoc in many ways, especially in areas like Mossaka. The most important thing with this new dyke is that it will reduce the material, human and ecological risks linked to flooding. New methods to improve our knowledge of flood management are also currently being investigated.”
Heavy flooding makes the area more prone to cholera and typhoid outbreaks, as well as leaving people homeless and destroying entire harvests.
"Not only will the dyke protect people from certain diseases due to flooding but it will also enable us to get rid of the sand brought by floods into the harbour. As a result it will be able to fully operate again, which will benefit the local economy," said Denis Mbomo, public works councillor.
During the 1999 floods, national authorities declared a state of emergency and many people were forced to leave their homes. This year, officials say the water level is already very high.