Video of land appearing to float on land goes viral, Scientists say it is normal

Landslide in rural Rwanda shocks Nyamagabe residents
A landslide in Nyamagabe District. /Courtesy
A landslide in Nyamagabe District. /Courtesy

A video of a large chunk of land shifting ground has been going viral on social media. In the background, you could hear people speaking Kinyarwanda and in shock saying this is a sign of the end of the world. Others took to Twitter to make fun of  footage that was taken the weekend of  March 13 2020. 

Scientifically known as a landslide, the disaster took place on Friday evening in Nyamagabe district, Uwinkingi sector, in Rugogwe cell. The eroded land was a buffer zone- an area of land designated for environmental protection, around Nyungwe Forest.


As per Jean De Dieu Tuyishime, the Executive Secretary of Subukiniro village, the landslide was due to the downpour that was experienced across the country.


“That landslide was due to heavy rains that our district experienced, just like many other districts across the country. Though the soil was taken, good enough no lives were lost because the place is a buffer zone,” he said.

Tuyishime added that: “Only two small roads used by one institution that harvest and replant trees near that slope were affected and we expect to finish activities of clearing it this Monday.”  

According to the official, such a landslide is the first in this area is since the past two years when he took office.

It is normal, but can be prevented

Speaking to The New Times, Theodomir Barifashe, a lecturer of Natural Resource Management at the University of Rwanda said that this is not something unusual and is a result of a number of factors. 

“It happens in most places when the soil is too thick to contain a lot water, the area is sloppy,  doesn’t have trees with long roots. As a result, the top soil just flows in form of mud,” he said.

He added that: “Considering that the effects of those landslides include loss of lives, land and destruction of properties among others, it is advisable to plant trees with long roots on top of such slopes so as to create resistance because those trees consume the water in soil.”

An official from the Ministry of Environment told The New Times on Monday, March 16, that “The Ministry became aware of the disaster and within this week, technicians from Rwanda Water Board and Rwanda Forestry Authority will go there to know what might have caused it and recommend appropriate measures to prevent a repetition of such disasters.”

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