An estimated 14,000 people found themselves homeless in Congo’s capital Brazzaville after an explosion at a munitions depot all but decimated the neighbourhood of M’pila last week. With nowhere else to go, the majority of them have since sought shelter in one of the government’s hastily constructed homeless centres. Our Observer visited one of the camps and found widespread devastation.
In the wake of the disaster, Brazzaville’s authorities quickly moved to provide shelter to the thousands of newly homeless by transforming the city’s expansive Nkombo market, a number of churches, such as the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of the Rosary, into makeshift housing. Several of the city’s stadiums were also commandeered for the project.
As the situation on the ground worsened, the government was forced to call on the high commission of the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) for help in managing the centres. The country’s Ministry of Social Affairs also set up a hotline
for those seeking to lend a hand.
According to the latest government figures, the death toll from the explosion left more the 200 people dead
and at least 2,300 more injured.