At least five people were killed and 14 others injured yesterday after rainstorm destroyed a Pentecostal Church in which over 25 members of a choir were holding their routine after service practice.
The dead include a seven-year old, three females and a man, who all died on spot, according to Chief Supt Francis Gahima, the Northern Province police spokesperson. “The rain destroyed the weak walls of the building and the roof flew away. The church was still under construction.
People who were in church started fleeing but the five did not make it out and the structure came down on them. Fourteen are injured, 11 of them seriously,” said Gahima.
He added that the seriously injured were taken to Butaro Hospital while the three who sustained minor injuries were being treated at Kirambo Health Centre.
Dr Tharcisse Mpunga, the director of Butaro Hospital, said eight people were in a very critical condition and had been placed under intensive care.
A witness described the incident as tragic. “When the church collapsed, people started screaming and running. Many more could have lost their lives becasue the rain was heavy,” said eyewitness.
Samuel Sembagare, the mayor of Burera, also confirmed the incident adding that over 20 houses were destroyed, including part of a school, Ecole Secondaire de Kirambo.
The mayor said the church should never have been opened for use before its construction works were fully completed.
He added that measures are being taken where churches and other buildings will be built after a construction permit will be issued and an occupation permit has been issued after construction.
Burera is one of the most mountainous districts of the Northern Province and is prone to disasters.