Destructive floods and mudslides claim 72 lives in Rwanda

Destructive floods and mudslides claim 72 lives in Rwanda

Heavy rains lashing Rwanda over the past few days have led to destructive floods and mudslides in which at least 72 people lost their lives. Officials confirmed extensive damage to infrastructure, livelihood, and properties.

Rwanda has witnessed weather disturbances that triggered floods and landslides in seven mountainous districts across the country's North, West, and Southern Provinces. 

The worst affected districts are Musanze, Gakenke, and Rulindo in the North; Muhanga in the South, ad Ngororero, Rubavu, and Nyabihu in Western Province.

Extensive damage was reported to infrastructure, including five bridges and several main roads connecting the capital Kigali to remote rural provinces, blocking people's access to essential services while also disrupting their livelihoods. Livestock and farmlands were also severely hit.

On May 11, local media said the government is discussing plans to restore the Kanyonyomba bridge, which was washed away by a swollen river last week. With the bridge gone, districts in the Eastern Province were left paralyzed for days.

"We are in talks with Engineering Brigade to establish a temporary bridge soon such that the road can be opened to traffic," said Imena Munyampenda, the director-general of Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA).

However, they would have to wait for the dry season when the water levels are down before constructing a permanent bridge so that the foundation underwater would be firm enough.

The latest disaster killed 72 people across the country. In addition, 91 houses were destroyed, as well as wide swaths of land planted with various crops, according to the African Press Agency.

The government has started distributing relief goods and financial assistance to the families who lost their relatives in the disaster.

Northern Province Governor Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi added that aside from the cash aid, the government will arrange burials and give other essential items, including food, water, emergency shelter kits, hygiene kits, and jerry cans.

This was the second spate of flood and rain-related deaths in the past few days.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MINEMA) reported eight fatalities and hundreds of homes damaged.

Featured image credit: Northern Province Rwanda

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