Intense rainfall from April 17 to 20, 2020, has resulted in fatal flooding and landslides in Rwanda and Burundi. Local media confirmed nine fatalities and around 27 000 people affected.
In Rwanda, downpours triggered landslides in the district of Gicumbi in the Northern Province, with the most affected areas being Nyankenke and Kageyo Sectors.
Officials reported damage to properties and six fatalities in Gicumbi. "Gicumbi District is saddened to announce the death of six residents who were killed through landslides triggered by the rain which majorly pounded several parts of Nyankenke and Kageyo Sectors," district mayor Felix Ndayambaje stated.
Public infrastructure, including roads from various parts of the district, was hit badly. In addition, livestock also perished, such as goats and hens. About 48 house units were destroyed, while roughly 2 ha (5 acres) of various crops were washed away, as well as a total of 15 ha (37 acres) of soybean at Bushobora cell in the Remera Sector.
Heavy rain last night partially wiped off the cobblestone road in an area commonly known as "Ku Ntaraga" in Kimisagara.— The New Times (Rwanda) (@NewTimesRwanda) April 17, 2020
Last month, Rwanda Meteorology Agency- @MeteoRwanda made “above normal” rainfall predictions between March and May. pic.twitter.com/2T50Ccm8Wr
1/2 We wish to inform our esteemed customers that due to heavy rain of last 2 days, we are experiencing high turbidity at Nzove and Kimisagara Water Treatment Plants.— Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd | Rwanda (@wasac_rwanda) April 19, 2020
This problem has affected our production system, conseqently some areas of Kigali City arenot supplied as usual pic.twitter.com/RANcFN9xWi
Heavy rains— Rwanda Red Cross (@Rwandaredcross) April 19, 2020
Floods and other climate related disasters will not stop because of corona virus. Cummunities are affected by both. Our volunteers on field will not give up & we are doing whatever it takes to reach the most vurnelable. We are in this together. pic.twitter.com/SZYluuJNK7
The mayor also urged residents who still remain in vulnerable zones to evacuate to safer areas, noting that officials were ordered to assist in the relocation process.
"As we speak some of those who have been mapped to be in high-risk zones were relocated to stay with their neighbors pending a long-lasting solution that the district will take in the near future."
In a separate tragedy, three fatalities were confirmed in the district of Gatsibo. The victims-- an elderly man, a woman, and a teenager-- died after being swept away by severe flash flooding, according to Niyonziza Felecien Executive Secretary Remera Sector.
Their bodies have been taken to Kiziguro hospital for postmortem," said Felecien.
Meteo Rwanda has issued further heavy rainfall warnings, with up to 60 mm (2.4 inches) of rain per day likely until April 26.
In the neighboring country of Burundi, parts of the Bujumbura Province were impacted by heavy rainfall. The Ministry of Security reported that homes and infrastructure were affected in Gatumba after the Rusizi River became swollen on Monday.
About 6 000 households or 27 000 individuals have been suffering due to the severe weather. Authorities have been working in the afflicted areas to coordinate rescue operations and evacuations. As of April 21, no fatalities or injuries had been reported.
Gatumba is located roughly 15 km (9 miles) east of Uvira in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where flooding also occurred following days of heavy rain. As of April 20, at least 36 fatalities had been confirmed and more than 77 000 people have been left homeless.
More 5500 households have been affected by inondation floods in Gatumba! More about 27,000 people including children and other vulnerable groups are now without shelter food, and other necessary basic needs!— ACPDH Burundi (@AcpdhBurundi) April 20, 2020
How to protect them in this covid19 pandemicdeasese?@UNOCHA @BurundiGov pic.twitter.com/HgJn5FWZV5
Bujumbura-Burundi #Floods #DRR #Disaster More than 2000 People affected, Many Houses distroyed and citizens remain homeless, there is a strong need of humanitarian assistance to victims #Gatumba @globalnetworkdr @UNDRR @PNUDBurundi @AmbChineBurundi @stephgruenb @OxfamPanAfrica pic.twitter.com/JlHVKe3CTO— Prime Nkezumukama (@pnkeza) April 21, 2020
Another East African country, Kenya, also had to deal with the aftermath of devastating landslides and flash flooding over the weekend. The counties of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot were affected badly as rains left a trail of destruction.
At least 4 000 people had been displaced so far, while six lost their lives due to landslides.
Les maisons érigées sur le long du lac #Tanganyika sont menacées par ce lac. Depuis Gatumba (Nord-ouest) jusqu’à la commune #NyanzaLac(sud du pays)les infrastructures s’https://t.co/tqFRkiH00p population de la localité crie au secours.@BMineagrie @MDPHASG1@PNUDBurundi #Burundi pic.twitter.com/5e1vquxlZ6— Urumuri News (@UrumuriN) April 20, 2020
Le Ministre de @BurundiSecurity au chevet des victimes des inondations de la nuit d'hier ayant provoqué les crues de la rivière Rusizi en @BujumburaProv. Pas de dégâts humains mais 6000 ménages (27000 personnes) affectés. La Police coordonne les secours. pic.twitter.com/0VJCNv6BUU— Burundi Sécurité (@BurundiSecurity) April 20, 2020
Heavy rains from April 16 to 17, 2020, triggered severe flooding in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, resulting in significant damage and destruction. As of April 20, at least 36 fatalities were reported, 42 people were injured.
The city of Uvira and surrounding areas in South Kivu have been the worst affected.
Initial estimates mention 3 500 destroyed homes, 15 000 damaged, and 7 damaged or destroyed bridges in Runingu, Luberizi, Sange, and Luvungi. More than 77 000 people were left without homeless as roads have also been cut off.
Featured image credit: The Human Rights Defenders Network Burundi