RWANDA: Landslides Claim Lives as Heavy Rains Wreck Havoc

KIGALI MAY 10, 2016 (CISA) – At least 49 people are believed to have been killed in landslides caused by heavy rains in Northern Rwanda according to Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs.

Another 26 people were injured, with more than 500 houses destroyed and several roads damaged between May 7 to 8 May.

“The Government of Rwanda regrets the loss of life and express solidarity with affected families. The Government of Rwanda salutes residents who came to the rescue of their neighbours and those hosting people left homeless, and assures victims of the disaster that required assistance will be provided,” the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs Seraphine Mukantabana said in a statement.

The Rwandan Red Cross Society is assisting displaced people in flood-affected areas of the country, including Musanze in Northern Province, and Nyabihu and Rubavu districts in Western Province. Recent heavy rain has affected water supplies and damaged roads, schools, clinics and over 700 homes.

Northern Rwanda is particularly hilly, making it vulnerable to landslides during the rainy season. The government has been encouraging some residents to relocate to safer areas.

Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi and other Cabinet Ministers joined the residents in giving a decent burial to the victims, contributing funerals fees, food supplies, shelter and clothes including other basics.

“We will support you until you recover from this disaster,” says Mrs Mukantabana.

Similarly, heavy rainfall in various parts of Kenya throughout the month of April 2016 has resulted in widespread flooding.

According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), this year has recorded the highest number of flood-affected persons as well as fatalities from floods in the past five years in Kenya.

More than 100,000 people have been affected by flooding in May in many regions, with at least 65 confirmed dead, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS).

Nairobi County has so far experienced the worst effects of the rains and flooding, with lower income areas of Nairobi amongst those worst affected. On 29 April 2016, heavy rains led to the collapse of a six storey residential building in the Huruma Estate in the North East of the city.

According to Pius Masai the head of Kenya’s natural disaster management, 140 people were rescued, while 49 bodies were recovered by the end of the rescue on May 7.

Another 47 people remained missing though it was unclear whether they were actually in the building at the time of the accident.

The flooding around the country has resulted in the destruction of property and infrastructure, as well as the disruption of livelihood activities, especially small-scale farming.

The latest forecast from the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) indicates a likelihood of continued heavy rains in most parts of the country including parts of Western, Nyanza, Central and Northern Kenya.

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