Rain kills scores across the country

At least 49 people have been killed by floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain that hit different parts of the country during the weekend.
Mudslide blocked the Kigali-Musanze road yesterday. (Courtesy)
Mudslide blocked the Kigali-Musanze road yesterday. (Courtesy)

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

Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs minister Seraphine Mukantabana said 42 of the victims are from Gakenke District in Northern Province alone, with the others from Ngororero and Rubavu districts in the west as well as Muhanga in the south.

Some 26 people are nursing injuries at various hospitals, while 442 houses were destroyed, leaving hundreds homeless.

The affected districts are mountainous and prone to such disasters.

Deogratias Nzamwita, the mayor of Gakenke District, said more than 200 houses were reduced to rubble by landslides and floods.

He said six survivors were hospitalised.

According to Nzamwita, the rain started in the midnight of Saturday and devastated six sectors of the district, mostly Gakenke, where 16 died and Nemba where nine were killed.

Most people were killed by houses that collapsed while others were killed by floods.

Besides lives lost, the uncommon rain also destroyed crops such as beans and bananas as well as forests.

The landslides have also blocked Kigali-Musanze road, affecting traffic to Muhanga and Ngororero.

By press time, a team from Rwanda Transport Development Agency was working to clear the road.

The mayor of Gakenke said the road was blocked between Gankenke centre and Buranga hills.

He said Gakenke is a region of sloppy mountains that are prone to landslides and urged residents to choose places that are less risky.

He added that they will try to drain water to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Antoine Ruvebana, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, promised Government support.

“We sympathise with the families of the victims. We have deployed a team at the incident scene to assess the damage and provide first aid,” he said, adding that they will be giving them basic household needs.

He urged those who live in risky areas to relocate.

Since January, rain has been persistent throughout the country, causing deaths and destroying infrastructure.

But this is the most deadly incident since then, according to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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