Eight dead as mudslide buries five family members

Eight people, including five members of a family, died in two separate mudslide incidents in Rutsiro and Karongi districts in Western Province on Wednesday.
The house in which the Karongi family perished. courtesy pgoto
The house in which the Karongi family perished. courtesy pgoto

Eight people, including five members of a family, died in two separate mudslide incidents in Rutsiro and Karongi districts in Western Province on Wednesday.

In Rutsiro, a father and his two sons, died in Twabugezi cell, Murunda sector.

The deceased have been identified as Antoine Bizimungu, 43, and his sons, Jean d’Amour Siborurema, 13, and Bonaventure Habimana, 11.

Witnesses told The New Times that the deceased’s wife, whom they identified as Dorothée Nyiraminani, and their three other children miraculously survived the mudslide which tore out part of the house.

The incident occurred at 10am, residents said.

They described seeing Bizimungu unsuccessfully fleeing the disaster in which the mudslide buried him while he was on the run.

It took residents about two hours to dig through the pile of mud to reach the lifeless bodies, according to eyewitnesses.

Rutsiro district vice mayor for social affairs Jacqueline Nyirabagurinzira told this paper that the area has been hit by downpour since Tuesday.

She said local leaders have visited the area to console the affected family and organised support for them.

Apart from the recorded deaths, Wednesday’s rain also destroyed about 60 houses, but Nyirabangurinzira said the number is likely to increase as the identification was still ongoing by press time.

Crops and roads were also  destroyed, she added.

Rutsiro district, in the north-western part of the country, has steep and rugged topography, which makes it vulnerable to disasters such as landslides.

Mudslide and lightning are common in the area, officials said.

Last month, heavy rain damaged a bridge on River Sebeya, cutting the communication between Nyabirasi sector and the neighbouring Rubavu district.

Meanwhile, two people were admitted to Muhororo Hospital in Ngororero district after sustaining injuries in Wednesday’s heavy rain.

The district vice mayor for economic affairs, Emmanuel Mazimpaka, told this paper the rain also destroyed an estimated 100 hectares of crops.

Traffic on the Muhanga-Ngororero road was also partly diverted on Wednesday due to flooding in Nyabarongo River.

Family of five crushed

Five people from the same family in Karongi district, Mutuntu sector in Western Province were  asleep on Wednesday when the road near their house caved in, leaving rubbles to bury the house.

The deceased family members were identified as daughters Nyirahabimana, 7, Nyiransengiyumva, 5, and son Theophile Irasubiza, 4, and their parents Stephen Bahizi and Jacqueline Uwizampa of Kinyonzwe cell.

The family house was located along the road linking Nyamagabe town to Gisovu Tea Plantation, an area the district mayor says is not part of the disaster-prone areas.

Mayor Bernard Kayumba said the area was “considered a safe place.” The family members were buried yesterday.

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