Death toll from heavy rains in Rwanda rises to 72

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A photo showing some of the destruction caused by heavy rains on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in a part of Rwanda. COURTESY: TWITTER/Rwanda Broadcasting Agency

The death toll from heavy rains in Rwanda on Wednesday rose to 72, the national public broadcaster, Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) reported on Friday.

Dozens of houses, at least five bridges and several plantations were destroyed during the deluge.

Rwanda’s Minister in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) Marie Solange Kayisire on Thursday said that the victims were killed by floods and landslides triggered by the rains.

According to Kayisire, who spoke during a live news program on Rwanda Television, the worst affected areas included districts of Gakenke, Musanze, Rubavu, Muhanga, Ngororero and Rulindo. 23 of those killed were from Gakenke district the RBA said.

Late last month, three people were killed and three others were injured following heavy rains that hit several parts of Rwanda. Additionally, 215 houses, three roads and six bridges and more than 60 hectares of crops and vegetation were destroyed.

A few days before that, 12 people were killed and property of unknown value was destroyed in a heavy downpour.

In March, the Rwanda Meteorology Agency (RMA) issued a forecast warning of above-average rainfall during the long rain season. Citizens were urged by MINEMA to take extra caution and check the conditions of their houses and roofs and avoid water bodies during the rain.

The East African region has been hit by heavy rains and floods this year. On Wednesday, the Kenyan government said that 194 people had been killed and more than 100,000 others had been displaced by heavy rains and floods in the last three weeks.

In western Uganda’s Kasese town, people were forced to flee for safety after a river burst its banks while an emergency evacuation of patients in a nearby hospital was necessitated.

Meanwhile, in March, at least 3,500 houses and 6,600 hectares of farms were swept away by flash floods in one week caused by rains in Tanzania’s Rufiji district in the coast region.

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