Landslide victims laid to rest

Several government officials yesterday joined residents of Gakenke District in the Northern Province for the burial of 35 people who lost their lives in weekend landslides.
Prime Minister Murekezi lays a wreath of flowers to honor 35 victims of a landslide and floods in Gakenke District yesterday. (Teddy Kamanzi)
Prime Minister Murekezi lays a wreath of flowers to honor 35 victims of a landslide and floods in Gakenke District yesterday. (Teddy Kamanzi)

Several government officials yesterday joined residents of Gakenke District in the Northern Province for the burial of 35 people who lost their lives in weekend landslides.

Victims include children, men and women. The ceremony that took place at the district headquarters brought together thousands of residents.

The disaster occurred Sunday morning around 4am.

The event was graced by the Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi, Minister for Local government, Francis Kaboneka, Disaster preparedness and Refugee affairs Minister, Seraphine Mukantabana, Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana and the governor of the Northern Province, Aime Bosenibamwe among others.

In his remarks, Murekezi said Government is doing everything within their power to help the affected by providing temporary shelter until a permanent solution is found.

He delivered President Kagame’s condolences to the grieved families.

“The government is doing everything possible to help those who were affected by providing temporary shelter till a permanent solution is found. We are also going to continue providing medical care to those who were injured, conduct renovations and construct new infrastructure. We are also trying to put in place measures to combat future disasters,” he said.

The mayor of Gakenke District Déogratias Nzamwita said Gakenke District hadn’t witnessed such a disaster in recent years.

The last landslide of this magnitude last happened in 1987. He also added that it was only three years ago when a road broke down in the district but it didn’t have such a profound impact on the area like the landslides.

Thirty five people from 12 families perished in the process.

“We have 19 injured people in different health centers but according to doctor’s reports, they are expected to make a steady recovery. Also this calamity claimed 40 domestic animals including cows, goats and pigs and 460 houses were destroyed. The landslides also destroyed 1250 hectares of gardens and some feeder roads,” he said.

The mayor also said that affected families are being catered for in partnership with the ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs by providing household essentials.

The ceremony began with a requiem mass led by the Bishop of Ruhengeri Diocese Vincent Harolimana and the ADEPR church.

Roads were still flooded with mud but the cleaning process was underway with Minister of State in Charge of Transport Dr. Alexis Nzahabwanimana on site to oversee the process. Vehicles heading to Musanze were being diverted to use BASE route and through Burera District.

At least 49 people were killed by floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain that hit different parts of the country during the weekend.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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