Death toll from recent heavy rains rises to over 100

Many people lost their lives following a downpour in different parts of the country. Net.

Residents of Ngororero District are still grieving after nine children lost their lives during the weekend downpour that also left two other people in the district missing.

The victims of the Sunday night downpour were buried on Monday.

Godfrey Ndayambaje, the mayor, said the district extended emergency support to bereaved families, besides helping in the funeral arrangements.

“We have also stepped up efforts to search for the two missing residents,” said Ndayambaje, who added that there was little hope the two would be found alive.

The district mayor said: “We are also mobilizing people to relocate from high-risk zones as we move to support those who are vulnerable to relocate, we have advised those who are not ready to relocate to urgently seek accommodation in safer areas.”

The heavy rains, that also left many houses and crops destroyed, mostly affected Kabaya, Muhanda, Hindiro, Kavumu and Kageyo sectors, according to Ngororero officials.

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDIMAR) says up to 116 people have been reported dead while another 195 were injured as a result of heavy rain between January and April.

Disasters linked to rain have also swept away 4,560 hectares of crops and destroyed 370 housing units, according to the ministry. Some 12 roads, seven churches and 18 bridges were destroyed while 700 domestic animals were killed. 

To mitigate the negative impact of rain and associated disasters, the ministry says it has extended food and non-food relief items to the affected households.

The Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Jeanne d’Arc De Bonheur, has urged Rwandans to adopt community-based practices for disaster risk reduction measures, including digging effective water drainage, proper land use, terracing and tree planting.

Disasters that have recently been associated with heavy rains in Rwanda include floods, lightning and landslides.

Information from Rwanda Housing Authority indicates that, as of last year, about 7,000 households across the country needed to relocate from high-risk zones and the Government planned to support 3,900 of these to relocate because they were deemed economically disadvantaged.

Experts blame the change in rain patterns to La Niña period, a cooling of the water in the equatorial Pacific that occurs at irregular intervals