At least one resident has been confirmed dead while six were injured following a Sunday afternoon downpour that ravaged various parts of Kirehe District in Eastern Province.
The downpour, which was characterised by heavy winds and hailstones, destroyed large plantations of crops, classrooms, a cell office, the Genocide Memorial in Nyabitare in Nyarubuye Sector, as well as residential houses.
The injured were rushed to Kirehe Hospital and were said to be recovering by press time.
According to the district’s Vice Mayor in Charge of Social Affairs, Gerardine Mukandarikanguye, six of Kirehe’s 12 sectors were most affected: Kigarama, Kigina, Nyamugari, Mahama, Nyarubuye and Mpanga.
Suggesting that numbers might increase, Mukandarikanguye said that provisional figures indicate that the rain destroyed 933 houses, 15 classrooms, eight churches and seven food storage silos that had 70 tonnes of maize produce.
The rain also killed at least four cows.
Isaïe Hakizimana, the Head of COACMU, a farmers’ cooperative that brings together 730 members in Musaza Sector: “The bean plantations did not survive this rain today, while our maize crops had been also devastated by drought in the previous season.”
The cooperative cultivates on 730 hectares, and over 400 hectares were affected.
He said that they usually harvest two tonnes of beans from one hectare.
“What we are going to do right away is look for seeds and start sowing once again, there is nothing else we can do. We will try to find a seed that germinate quickly,” he told The New Times.
Agricultural season 2019 B that starts February and ends June is already underway, and Kirehe was recently advised by Rwanda Agriculture Board to plant drought-tolerant crops.
This follows an alert by the Rwanda Metrological Agency that the area would receive normal to below normal rainfall.